The holiday season tends to bring up feelings of goodwill toward others and happiness in our hearts. However, it can also evoke feelings of stress, overwhelm, and even sadness for things and loved ones no longer with us. Despite the season of “giving”, many of us experience events like accidents, health problems, loss from theft, house fires, corporate downsizing, the impact of global disarray, and friends or loved ones moving away or dying.
Events don’t always work out the way we hope or plan. Sadness, disappointment, hopelessness and even grief are likely reactions. Underneath the unhappy events are myriad other reasons to be thankful.
It’s important to remember, especially in times of sorrow, the helpful and wondrous people, things and events that surround us. Not only do they remind us of the positive, they also provide us support for managing the challenges. Take a moment and look around you and your life. What are you thankful for?
Likely the most obvious are the friends and family in our lives whom we love and appreciate. These people make our lives better. Maybe you are thankful for your spouse, your children, your best friend, your home, the food on your table and the possessions you own.
Perhaps you are thankful for the carpenters who built or recently remodeled your home, the farmers who cultivated and harvested the food on your table, or the engineers who invented and built your possessions.
Maybe you are thankful for your job. It could be that you don’t love your job, but you are thankful for the people you work with or your paycheck. You may simply be thankful for a place to go each day.
You may take a different perspective and are grateful for the sun that brightens our skies, providing energy and warmth. You may be grateful for the nature around you or the wonder of the expanse of the universe. You may be thankful for your very existence.
Every daily event we encounter provides an opportunity to give thanks. The colleague who irritates us brings us to consider why he or she irritates us and may eventually provide the push we need to make a change. The job we were downsized from may open doors to a more enjoyable career. A loss of any kind can redirect us to redefine what’s really important to us.
We are often confronted with various versions of forks in the road, choices we need to make. Often choices outside of our control are made for us. Perhaps you give thanks to the circumstances that ultimately brought you to where you are today. It could be that the place you are today is uncomfortable, sad, and otherwise painful. Maybe you are thankful for the support and encouragement around you to get through it and make choices to get back on track toward your goals, dreams and life’s purpose.
Life is rarely smooth sailing for very long. Wind kicks up, the water gets choppy and the boat rocks. We just have to remember that we have the tools to weather the storm, be it the oars, the rudder, the sails, the buckets to scoop and dump out the rising water, the “duct tape” to patch the hole, the others on the boat with us, or just grabbing the life boat and abandoning ship until we get to shore and rebuild.
Embrace daily events. Give thanks. Spread the joy.