Lately, the world seems like a crazy and chaotic place. Every day there is some new disaster, attack, or crisis. While it’s almost effortless to get wrapped up in the 24-hour news cycle, as we approach the Thanksgiving season, I’d like to take a moment here and focus on the good things in life. Some families have the holiday tradition of going around and naming the things they are most grateful for during their Thanksgiving meal. I want to get that ball rolling early and list the things I am thankful for here in 2017, in the spirit of sharing hope and gratitude, instead of tragedy and calamity.
Number one on my list is a combination of faith and family — as the two, for me, are so intertwined. I thank the Lord every day for my husband, our daughter, my parents, my grandmother; I even thank Him for my in-laws. And it’s with my family that I share my faith. Whether it’s going to church together, praying before a meal, or praying for guidance, I am incredibly grateful to have the support of my family and the support of the Lord. I’m also thankful for how my relationships with my family members and my faith have grown and evolved as time passes. I know that, no matter what happens in the outside world, I’ll have love in my life.
I also appreciate the love of my friends. My best friend, in particular, is one person I’m continually grateful to have in my life. Knowing she’s there to listen to my woes, advise me, laugh with me, and share the good, the bad, and the ugly moments of life make me thankful for her all year long. I also appreciate my friends at work and my friendly neighbors. I am less grateful for the unfriendly ones.
Another point of gratitude that is easy to overlook is good health. Sure, I have the usual aches and pains and could be in better shape, but when I think of those who are suffering chronic pain, battling a disease, or those that do not have the use of all of their limbs, it places my minor complaints into perspective. I’m trying to give thanks more often for having the freedom of movement, being able to carry groceries, and being strong enough to pick up my child and fit enough to get down on the floor and play with her every day.
I am also thankful for the simple kindness of strangers. A driver letting an older person cross against the light on a rainy day. A fellow customer having an extra penny or two to give in the checkout line. Another parent picking up a kid on the playground. These small gestures can make life a bit more pleasant. Whether or not I’m on the receiving end of it, when I see strangers being kind to each other, it gives me hope for our world.
Lastly, I want to take a moment to be thankful for all the little things that we take for granted — having a job that pays the bills, times of uncontrollable laughter, having a roof over my head, and having access to clean drinking water. Being born and raised in America, which means I have the right to vote, practice my religion, and voice my opinion. There are so many fundamental things and freedoms we tend to take for granted. So, as you prepare for Thanksgiving this year, take some time for gratitude and reflect on the good things in your life.