How to be grateful even when you’re not

Dear Daughter,

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and, as the name suggests, this holiday is all about giving thanks, about looking at your life and recognizing the things for which you are grateful. It’s so awesome that we get a day off, filled with lots of good food, to celebrate something as simple as giving thanks. On the other hand, it’s kind of sad that we get a day off, filled with lots of good food, to celebrate something as simple as giving thanks. We should be grateful every day; why do we need a big national holiday to remind us?

But we’re human. And we’re American. And even though we’re easily the most blessed nation in the world, we often take our blessings for granted. We haven’t experienced much hardship; goodness and abundance are all we know. So sometimes we need a reminder that this is not the norm, that we truly are incredibly fortunate people.

This is something that’s been resonating with me pretty deeply this past week. I’ve been throwing quite the pity party for myself lately. I’m overwhelmed with all the things I have to do in the next month, both at work and at home, and I’ve been bitter about the fact that I have to work at all. I’m not happy with my appearance, and I’m annoyed that I have so much “stuff” in the house and I don’t know where to put it.

And yet, when I turn the lens around, I see a whole new picture. The reason I have so many things to do in the next month is because I’m having a baby, which is a miracle in and of itself, something that many women dream of doing but are unable to. I have a stable, secure, well-paying job while hundreds of thousands of people have been out of work for months, even years. I may not look as svelte as I’d like but that’s because I’m nearly 8 months pregnant (which, again, is amazing), not because I have any physical abnormalities or anything. And all of that “stuff” in our house? So much better than having nothing at all, which is a reality for far too many people.

Plus, when I cry about how miserable I think I am, I have a husband and a daughter to comfort me, wipe away my tears and make me smile again. Just having that alone is enough to fill up my gratitude bank forever, but I have that AND all of these many other blessings. How did I get so lucky?

Daughter, no matter what time of year it is, I hope that you’ll be grateful for what you’ve been given. It won’t be easy at times, when things aren’t going your way or you wish things could be different. During those times, I encourage you to close your eyes and look at your life from a different perspective, from the perspective of one who has nothing and no one. When you do that, you will realize that you have blessings coming out of your ears, and gratitude will fill your heart so full you won’t know what to do with it.

Love,
Mom

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