This is a post that I wrote two years ago. Today, I was preparing to write a Thanksgiving post, when I happened upon it. After reading it through, I realized that it perfectly expressed my present feelings. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I offer it to you as my way of showing gratitude for you, whether your country celebrates the holiday or not. Gratitude is not a once a year day, it is meant to be practiced every day. So, with this post, I say “thank you’ for being such a blessing to me. Thank you for joining me on my journey. Have a blessed day.
As I rush to and fro in preparation for this week’s holiday feast, I stop to consider the meaning of giving thanks, that is, the meaning of gratitude. According to Wikipedia, “Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.” For most of us, it is quite easy to give thanks for the good things that happen in our lives. No, the difficulty arises when we consider our thoughts and feelings about those things that we consider “bad,” for instance, illness, a lost job, or the death of a child, spouse or close friend.Granted, these are no zippity do dah moments, but they too have undoubtedly left us with some underlying “benefit” that may or may not have manifested itself as of yet.
For years, I have dealt with the scourge of fibromyalgia– constant pain, depression, insomnia and more. I resigned from my 14 year job as a State’s defense attorney because my fibro symptoms adversely affected my work. It was impossible to concentrate on the case at hand while in excruciating, unrelenting pain. There were too many days when I made it to work, only to lay writhing on my office floor. So for me, fibromyalgia is my nemesis, that one thing that I find it difficult to give thanks for. Yet, in most of clarity, I can see that the benefits are there.
Not too long after I went on disability, my mother had a stroke. She has always been in perfect health, so it was a shock. After she left the hospital, the options were a nursing home or our house. There was no question that she would stay with me and my husband. The thing is that had I still been working as an attorney, it would have been impossible for me to welcome my Mom into our home. I travelled constantly and was always trying cases in one Texas city or another. I was out-of-town more often than not. My disability became a benefit, because it allowed me to be there for my mother when she needed me. I am grateful for that.
We can’t pick those things that we are grateful for. When we begin giving thanks, it is for everything that has gotten you to where you are today. As Oprah Winfrey writes, “Gratitude for the whole journey of my life–not just everything that had gone right, but the things that had not.” I have to remind myself of this every single day.
I wish you and your loveds a safe and happy Thanksgiving.