Thanks for the Stuff that Isn’t Just Stuff

Barry Boyce, Mindful's Editor-in-Chief, is thankful for people who remember what matters most, especially in trying circumstances. 

Photo: Justin and Elise/

What I’ve always loved about Thanksgiving is that we’re mostly thankful for the people (and some good food) and not for “the stuff.” For a seemingly increasing number of people the blessed four-day weekend at this time does seem to involve some retail hysteria, but for many families I talk to it’s still a few days that are focused on the most basic of values. One of my most favorite Thanksgivings was two years ago when I found myself alone with my mother at her nursing home. In a conventional sense, there may have been little for either of us to be thankful for. Her circumstances were reduced, the food could hardly be described as tasty, and other family members were in far flung places having their own Thanksgivings.

And yet, we were thankful. Thankful for the company, and just to be breathing air together. We took a long ride in the countryside and my mother opened up and talked about her own mortality in a way she had not before. That too was a thankful moment. We can give thanks for those times when we can be open with someone else about fears and thoughts that by custom we’re…