'Giving thanks fatigue" is a very real thing in our fast paced world. In that quick moment when I stopped to think about it sure I was mildly thankful. But truth be told, by the next day it was out of sight out of mind. I did not carry it with me into the following days or months the way I wished I did. Life happens & we go back to our busy jobs and eat turkey leftovers while never giving a second thought to those 'thanks.'
When I was young our church took us to a local Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry around Thanksgiving to volunteer. We wrote cards to sick children in need, and visited lonely seniors in retirement homes. In those moments it really hit me just how lucky I was for my life. But even then, even after that, I wasn't ever actually thinking it was a possibility to lose it. We never think that. When you see people down on their luck or in heartbreaking situations you might stop to think, "wow, thank you God for my home, my access to food, a warm bed, etc." But we just expect that these things will always be there.
I don't think I truly grasped what I was thankful for until my health did a 180. I know I know, how utterly cliche. Trust me, I'm aware of that. But I'm the first to admit that I got a big serving of humble pie when my health began to fail me. It was the first time that it occurred to me that things in life weren't always guaranteed. My stable foundation became shook when Doctor after Doctor failed to help me. I grew up thinking I'd always be fine because I had access to healthcare & parents who can afford to take me to the Doctor. While I sympathized with people who were down on their luck I had assumed that could never be me.
When I landed back in my childhood home in my 20's lying in bed 24/7 watching the seasons pass, I felt incredibly down on my luck. I became the person in need of prayers, visitors, and kind words. But most importantly I realized then in that moment that it could happen to me. And boy oh boy did I wish then that I was more thankful during all the years prior when I felt better. I wished I had genuinely cherished what it felt like to be healthy, devoid of pain, eating my favorite foods and surrounded by the ones I love.
Since then Thanksgiving has taken on a different meaning. I stop every year to write a long list of everything I am thankful for (which I usually blog about). And when I write it I actually stop, close my eyes, and image what it feels like. For example, I'm so thankful for my loving pup. So I stop, I imagine how sweet it is when she nuzzles her cold furry nose into my neck, and I hold that feeling. I want to hold onto it longer than a fleeting moment so I really realize how lucky I am for her.
Whoever you are reading this right now, I want to urge you to do the same. Stop and actually feel your 'thanks,' as cheesy as that sounds. One day you might not have the things around you, and you don't want to walk around with regret that you didn't cherish it more. Thanksgiving is just a small nudge to remind us of that. The holiday might pass by in a whirlwind & it might just feel like a hectic crazy day you want to skip. But even if you do breeze through it or skip it all together, I hope that you keep the theme of it with you regardless.
No matter where you are at in life right now I promise you have something to be thankful for. Look down at whatever device you are reading this on, and soak in the fact that you have access to the internet, to information, and to electronics that people in some parts of the world have never heard of. And if you feel like nobody cares or you're alone, please email me. I care.
I'm thankful for all of you who read this blog and to everyone who encourages me. And I wish you a happy and thankful day!