“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings”–William Arthur Ward
Happy Thanksgiving! I pray that each of you will be filled with gratitude and love today. And a whole lot of delicious food. And then a nap. Everyone needs a Thanksgiving day nap. As I type my husband is making the sweet potato casserole and my 13 year old is reading to me a “surprising list of things that are fruits”. Exact words. And my heart is filled with joy with the sounds coming from my kitchen.
I am feeling especially grateful today. That picture of my girls from years ago fills me with love and joy for those precious souls. I can still hear the giggles we had that day. My cousins wife took a day with us and we just went and played with the camera, light, and nature. It was a great day that started out…well I assume ordinary because I can’t really recall how it started out. Actually that isn’t true. I do remember that before the fun pictures began there were a bunch of tears. Over getting their hair done. Which by the way, just meant brushed really well. Can I insert an eye roll here? But now…I just know that I have these pictures and my girls are lighting up in each of them. That is everything to me.
Here is the thing about gratitude. It is usually connected to strife or struggle. Right? Many times we have to go through the darkness to appreciate the light. As we know, the first Thanksgiving was after a long brutal winter in which only half the pilgrims survived. A relationship had been formed with the Wampanoang tribe and the colonists that survived were taught how to cultivate local food and began to feed themselves and prosper. And of course the 3 day feast that laid the foundation for a national holiday that focus’s on being thankful. The tribe and the colonists remained in harmony for over 50 years and sadly remains one of the few examples of an enduring relationship between Native Americans and the incoming settlers.
What if that struggle hadn’t happened? I mean think about that? Would we as a country even have a holiday that focuses on gratitude? Take a minute and think about the power our country gains from this time spent in being thankful. I believe that we are what we focus on. Click To Tweet And today, in this country of over 300 million, there are families, friends, and strangers coming together to be grateful and focus on what is most important to each. ….that is freaking AMAZING!!!! I never really thought about that very fact until today.
Today there are people grateful for having one more Thanksgiving to experience, there are new parents giving thanks for precious newborns, individuals giving thanks for a hot meal, and for each other. Or for just being alive. I mean, that is good Karma for this country in my opinion. And for that I am thankful.
I am thankful for this last year. This last year has been filled with tears, heartache, and anger. I have had some mighty struggles in my personal and professional life. And now that I am on the other side of those struggles I realize I had to go through each to get here. “Here” is the place that I am confident in my voice and my abilities. “Here” is the time in my life that I am creating my income, my “job description”, and my time devoted to “work”. “Here” is where I realize that a marriage is a team sport.
It’s a good place.
If you are reading this and are in the middle of your own struggle can you find it in your heart to be grateful for this struggle? Maybe its a private struggle and others think you are perfectly content? Or maybe its dark and ugly and everyone around you sees you fighting to just carry on. What I know is that even in the darkest moments of our lives…we are alive. And alive means that our opportunities are still ahead of us and our life story isn’t over. The struggles lead us to important moments. Some of them literally life saving. So today, while being grateful for the wonderful things in your life, honor the struggle it took to get you there. And if you are still in the struggle then be grateful for where the struggle is leading you. Guaranteed that those that don’t give up or give in will come out a better person having greater impact on their own lives and that of others.
You know how I know? Because in March of 1621 the Pilgrims that had survived the brutal winter aboard ship moved ashore. And were greeted in English by a Native American. And the rest, as they say…is history.
PS. I can’t help but post these last two pictures. I mean, honestly…they are the best part of me.