Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food or the sound of a loved one’s voice. — Joseph B. Wirthlin
There is always something to be grateful for even in the darkest of times. We may have to reach deep down into our soul to find it amidst the turmoil in our life, but when we do grasp it and hold onto it and keep it close, that glimmer of gratitude helps us get through our days.
I must admit I didn’t quite get it when many years ago Oprah encouraged everyone to start a gratitude journal. But, because Oprah said, I bought a gratitude journal and recorded the things I was grateful for every morning before I left my house to go to work. I would be lying to say it wasn’t a challenge to sit down each morning and take the time to be grateful. I found when I did my days hummed along a little better and my moods were more optimistic.
Through the challenges of life I would put aside my gratitude journal only to return to it months later or maybe a year later. I could look back through my gratitude journey and see where I had been. Off and on through the years I have kept a journal, but during the struggles and the dark times of my life it was harder to write so I would just grasp at words and things that I could find to be thankful for. And some days when I would sink into the abyss of life and busyness I could not find that tiny glimmer. When that happened I would pick up my journal and be reminded that I did have things in my life to be grateful for.
These days, since I don’t leave my house to go to work, I find it easier to start my morning with prayer and gratitude. I find if I miss a morning my day doesn’t always feel complete. I find also it is easier to keep it up because I have friends who I trade gratitude thoughts with each night through messaging, and I also have many friends who share their grateful moments online. It is easier to be grateful and have an optimistic attitude when you hang out with optimistic people. Gratitude changes lives.
This is the week we remember to be thankful. On Thanksgiving we give thanks for all we have.
This year has been a challenging year. There have been losses in our life of family, my brother-in-law Evan and friends. For a few months, funerals seemed to be the order of the week. Loss isn’t always about death. Loss can be health, divorce, friends moving, jobs lost, a way of life diminishing. Holidays can be challenging because of the loss that has happened in our lives throughout the year.
Our Thanksgiving tables may look different because of loved ones who no longer share our holiday because of death, divorce, distance. And on the day we are supposed to be thankful and excited about the holiday, we can’t help but mourn those who are not at our table. Families change, and the change is thought about as we sit down to be thankful for all we have.
My family is no different. We won’t all be here this Thanksgiving. I think back to my childhood and still miss my mother, father, grandmother and aunts and uncles and cousins. Some of my family will be celebrating elsewhere, and others who were here in the past will not be at my Thanksgiving table again because of life and relationship changes.
I used to have a hard time on holidays because of the changes, and I would ruin my Thanksgiving or Christmas by being sad. I chose to not do that anymore. Instead, I chose to be grateful and thankful for having these people in my life for whatever time I did.
I am grateful for those who will be here. I am grateful because I had holidays that I shared in the past with my family and my husband’s family. I am thankful for those people who were members of our family in the past. They will always be cherished. I am grateful for friends who have dined at my table.
Lives change, but this Thanksgiving I am grateful for what has been in the past and what will be in the future. I am grateful to have celebrated Thanksgivings past and present with those who have shared our lives.
In this topsy-turvy world I am grateful to have 365 days a year, not just Thanksgiving to be thankful for something big or small that makes our journey a little easier.