It was the story of Eeyore’s lost tail that came to mind first. Eeyore is reunited with his tail by Pooh’s efforts to restore happiness and wholeness to his habitually glum friend. But then there was the story of Eeyore’s Birthday and that seemed to sum things up pretty well.
Having discovered that Eeyore was in need of a birthday party and presents, Pooh and Piglet each choose a cherished possession of their own to give him – a jar of honey and a red balloon, respectively. Feeling peckish, Pooh slurps down the honey on his way to give it to Eeyore, leaving him with only a Useful Pot for a present. Overexcited, Piglet trips and bursts the balloon as he runs, leaving him with a limp red rag for his gift.
…When Eeyore saw the pot, he became quite excited. “Why!” he said. “I believe my Balloon will just go into that Pot!”
“Oh, no, Eeyore,” said Pooh. “Balloons are much to big to go into Pots. What you do with a balloon is, you hold the balloon –”
“Not mine,” said Eeyore proudly. “Look, Piglet!” And as Piglet looked sorrowfully round, Eeyore picked up the balloon with his teeth, and placed it carefully in the pot; picked it out and put it on the ground; and then picked it up again, and put it fully back.
“So it does!” said Pooh. “It goes in!”
“So it does!” said Piglet. “And it comes out!”
“Doesn’t it?” said Eeyore. “It goes in and out like anything.”
“I’m very glad,” said Pooh happily, “that I thought of giving you a Useful Pot to put things in.”
“I’m very glad,” said Piglet happily, “that I thought of giving you Something to put in a Useful Pot.”
But Eeyore wasn’t listening. He was taking the balloon out, and putting it back again, as happy as could be…
Giving thanks, all month long, has made one fundamental condition as plain as Thanksgiving Day: We have to take the bitter with the sweet. Eeyore’s gift, his Great Gift to his Friends, is to know when things are sweet and to share his Joy, which is certainly another word for Gratitude. I don’t think my task is to go beyond moping into some kind of infernal sunshine, nor to lower my sights in resignation. I think my challenge is to be touched, to willingly change gears and acknowledge when a Useful Pot and Something to put in it, is just what I needed. My friends, on their own journeys, have met me with these things at just the right moment. And for this, not just today, I feel much gratitude. Which is certainly another word for Joy.