This year has been so difficult for so many people. Most of us are hanging in there by barely a thread. If you are in the United States, whether dangling by a thread or about to jump off a bridge, you are expected to be “thankful” because the Thanksgiving holiday is now here. It’s a time of celebration and giving thanks for all that you have. It’s a time to reflect. And ruminating during a painful year is difficult.
(I am not going to get into the history of Thanksgiving here, but rest assured, I am aware of it.)
So, how can you feel thankful if you lost your job this year, or if you were forced to reinvent yourself? How can you be thankful if you can’t pay your rent or mortgage, or you have no idea where your next meal is coming from? How can you be thankful when you are wondering if you will end up homeless to no fault of your own? How can you be thankful when you are depressed, exhausted, and anxious?
Quite the conundrum, isn’t it? How can anyone be thankful in 2020 with everything that has and still keeps occurring?
Not only can we be thankful despite it all, but we must. We must because that is the way out of this mess we call 2020.
According to some contemporary writers, giving thanks is vital to living your best life:
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices. ” – Elizabeth Gilbert
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ” – G.K. Chesterton
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.” – A.A. Milne
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer
Even if I sound like a tired cliché, I am going to say it because it’s important: find anything you can appreciate. For example, due to Covid-19, I am in another life transition, but I have a roof over my head. This year, I lost my career, dealt with a few painful health issues, lost my brother to a heart attack, lost an old friend to cancer, but I still have food on my table and I’m thankful for that. I have a great husband and a wonderful daughter. I have three interesting cats, too. I am thankful for all of this.
And there is much more if I sit down to ponder about it. I bet it’s the same for you. Make your list. You will feel better.
Choosing thanksgiving despite the hell we’ve experienced this year makes life a bit more palatable. It helps us see that not ALL is lost. It puts us in a better frame of mind. It puts us in a place of calm in the middle of the continuing storm. It ensures that we do not miss the good things in life. It gives us hope. And hope is what this world desperately needs.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who reads this blog. I am very thankful for you!
It’s been rough. Let’s work for a better year, 2021.