I have always relabeled the end of year holiday season as my “Thankful Season.” I love this time of the year! I love the opportunity it gives me to show my thankfulness … that should be shown all year round. I do try my best to be appreciative and thankful every single day.
I am certainly aware of the fact that my life is much better than I deserve. I look around and see a world full of pain, suffering, and hardship. I have plenty of that pain and hardships myself. So the fact that I can be thankful and really mean it, is in its own way a small miracle.
Life in Covid Prison … our family is quarantined with most of them coming down with Covid … has been lonely, boring, and lazy. The days haven’t really been great days! Some days it was hard to be thankful.
As many of you are aware since taking the chemo I have nerve damage (neuropathy) in my feet and legs … The change of the weather from warm to cooler to warmer to cooler played havoc on my feet. That’s been our North Carolina weather lately. As I walked out on our deck recently I remarked to myself “I sure didn’t appreciate good feet when I had them!” WOW … what a thought and so true with many things in my life. Being grateful is a choice … just like our attitude is our choice! Being truly thankful means during good and bad times.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~Melody Beattie
I read lots of motivational books. There is a story I love that I found in the book “I Once Was Blind But Now I Squint” written by Kent Crockett. Kent tells a story about his father undergoing radiation for throat cancer which damaged his taste buds so that he couldn’t taste food. I guess I could relate because I too lost taste for good food. OK … back to the story. He said that his father’s inability to enjoy a meal became a dreaded duty that he had to do to recover. After his treatment ended he waited for his taste to return. He said that every meal became a forced feeding to keep his father alive. Finally after one year, his father sat down to a meal and as he put the fork to his mouth he discovered taste. What many would consider a bland dinner became the best meal he had ever eaten. Kent stated that after his father had lost and recovered his taste it became a reference point to his being thankful. I remember this story as all my family currently has lost their taste due to the covid virus. Kimbo was so happy tonight to be able to faintly taste the soup I had made. Ok … back again to my blog.
Likewise with me … having nerve damage in my feet and the many other side effects have given me reference points to what I had and what I now have to be thankful for. But you don’t even have to lose something in order to be thankful. You can develop a thankful attitude for all of your blessings that you have by simply realizing what life would be like without them. Think about them and then losing them and see if that doesn’t scare the heck out of you! As Jose Ruiz said: “Live by one life motto: don’t take anything for granted because one day it’ll be everything you wish you had back.”
We are all more fortunate than we give ourselves credit for … maybe it’s because we are pre-occupied with thoughts of things we don’t have or things we think we are missing out on. Stop for a moment and look around, there are endless things we have that others are not as fortunate to have. We should just be grateful for the things we have in the first place.
Like the picture above, no matter how you say it … Being thankful and being grateful unlocks happiness. I will say that this knowledge has come later in my life and I wish I had discovered it earlier so the folks around me would have known just how much I appreciate them! Being thankful turns what we have into enough and sometimes even more. Like the quote I stated above … It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a beautiful home and a stranger into a valued friend. Being thankful makes sense of our past, brings us peace for today, and gives us hope for a better tomorrow.
Each of us has life altering things happen. I have so many family and friends who have lost someone this past year or have had devastating events happen in their lives. They had no idea their lives were about to change forever. If you take something for granted, you don’t worry about it because you assume you will always have it. Shouldn’t we just be happy if we can walk, eat, live safely? So many others around us do not have these … and yet we still complain every day that we do not have enough. When you make yourself aware of how blessed you really are, that is when you learn to appreciate the “little” things in life and you become happier.
We also make the biggest mistake of assuming that the family and friends we love will be here for us forever. I deal with this every day … I really miss my husband, my mother and especially my sister! I hope they know just how much I did love and appreciate them … I don’t think I told them enough! It’s more important to let those around me now know how much I love and appreciate them! Yes … message to my brain … learn to appreciate what I have now before time makes me appreciate what I had! Yes … that means telling them over and over and over.
That reminds me of another little story I read somewhere … can’t remember where so I can’t give the author credit. A little girl sat down to eat dinner with her family. Her father asked if she would bless the food. She looked at the table and discovered that they were having leftovers from the night before. The little girl said “But we already thanked God for this food last night!” Her father replied … “just because we’ve thanked God once for something doesn’t mean we can’t thank Him again.” The same goes for our family and special friends … tell them and tell them often.
“Never take someone you love for granted. Hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting pretty stones.” ~Author Unknown
Life is too short to waste our time thinking about what we do not have while we deal with this pandemic … while we isolate ourselves. We obviously can survive without them and things. We … you and I … have made it this far haven’t we. As my mother used to tell me all the time … “things do not make you happy, it is how we feel that really matters.” Yep … I now realize that what I get out of life depends entirely upon my attitude. The things that provide for my happiness are right in front of my face … my family, my extended family, my friends, and my community. Don’t waste another minute … be thankful and be happy.
Here’s my new challenge to you: Take some time today, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, to come up with a thankful list. Even if you can’t seem to think of anything, don’t let that stop you from still giving thanks. There is still much to be thankful for, if we only have eyes to see. I actually keep a journal that I write events and things that I am thankful for. Some days its hard to write … days that are lonely or disappointing … but I still try to write. Later when I read about these trying events I see the blessings that still came to me! I believe that the hardest times in our lives often lead to the greatest moments in our lives.
Just in case you were wondering, here are my top 5 reasons to give thanks today … (but there are many more things):
- I am thankful for my family … especially my six awesome grandchildren and my precious Henry… who take care of me and love me as I am. Each of you inspires me to be a better person.
- I am thankful for my new type of health … for being able to still do the things I want and need to do to provide for myself.
- I am thankful for the talents and the ability to share them with others … whether it’s homemade Christmas gifts this year, to repair a bridesmaid dresses or teaching others the art of making t-shirt quilts or painting a picture for a dear friend.
- I am thankful for music — music like the “Paul Cardall – Piano Guys – Gentri – Nathan Pacheco – One Voice Children’s choir.” Just in case Steven Sharpe Nelson or Paul Cardall reads this blog … your music inspires me spiritually and makes me want to be a better person.
- Lastly, and most importantly, I am thankful for my loving Heavenly Father —for the purpose that knowledge gives to my measly life and the knowledge that “Families are Forever!” He gives me hope that there is more to my story than I can see.
I close my blog today with a quote from Buddha: “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us be thankful.” Oh I do love that wise old man!
Please remember … No matter the situation, you can always find something to be thankful for! Give every day the chance to be the most beautiful day ever! Be thankful and be happy! Just be positive and keep the faith … it’s all worth it!
Just saying …