This time of year, we begin to feel a little more thankful for the lives we live and especially on the fourth Thursday in November, we celebrate. Most of us will share this day with family and friends, surrounded by enough food that we will wish we had worn our “stretchy” pants with maybe a tradition of watching some football on TV or playing games. For others, that same day will be the beginning of the upcoming shift towards the next holiday which is a mere 30 days away.
Although this month we may acknowledge this feeling more, we have every day moments that make our lives better yet we overlook them more than we should.
We are quick to allow our anger rise when the service from our internet provider goes down or when someone stabs us in the back at work. For most of us, we can find small moments of being grateful for having clean clothes and reliable transportation. Even getting a job when we have gone without one for months is a welcome blessing.
I am talking about things that are a little more sophisticated than that…the things that truly touch our soul when we are recipients of grace. Humbling as it may be, looking at the beautiful comforts given to us we begin to feel something that lasts a little longer than the indigestion from last night’s hot dog and chili.
But, seriously, let me ask you something…when was the last time you were thankful for:
Too often, we give to someone else with a stipulation attached to our act of giving or to the gift itself. Doing so negates the reason we chose to give in the first place. Our blessings are found in true unconditional giving — the giving of something for the purpose of giving. With no keeping of score or feeling obligated to return a similar gift. Just to give because we could. We have forgotten the true meaning behind, “It’s the thought that counts” and until we remind ourselves of the feeling of being loved and cared for, if even for a minute or two, we forget why it is important to give to others. Whether it be something small like buying someone’s coffee or merely holding the door for someone as they leave a restaurant…simple blessings come from giving.
Although some would argue our freedoms are not sufficient for the life we truly wish to live, I would argue that we have more than enough. We are responsible and own our lives — they way we live them, the changes we make in them, and the actions we take as well. For most of us, we are allowed to come and go as we please, ever needing to check in or get permission from others(mostly speaking). Others, however, experience very limited opportunities to experiencing what the world has to offer or to engage in a simple conversation with someone outside of their cultural beliefs. We may not always like what’s going on in our lives, but it’s ours and that means something.
Some people will go their entire lives never feeling like they “fit” anywhere. But there is something special about knowing where “home” is and being welcomed by open arms every time you show up there. Knowing where you belong keeps us all grounded, keeps us centered, and when we lose our way, it is the one place we know we can always go. There is acceptance in this place, with these people, and we feel the love every time we are near. We know where we belong and we can’t imagine being anywhere else.
Although we may be many years out of school, our days of learning are far from over. In fact, we never stop learning. Sometimes, our biggest moments come from the chances we didn’t take as much as they do from the ones we never should have taken. We also learn from each other — whether it be found in the sharing of our story or knowledge we have gained along the way. The opportunities we have are endless — whether from a book we are reading, a simple exchange of generosity between two strangers, or something we watch on Netflix. Just as we are ever the student, we are also ever the teacher. Sharing ourselves with others is how those opportunities exist for others.
Using our imagination to create something from nothing blesses our lives in ways we never could describe if required to do so. It allows everything we are to be seen. In addition to our personality showing through, we also are able to tap into parts of our being that we may have not used in some time. Too often, we stifle someone doing something a little different than the rest. We ridicule and judge instead of being open to something new. Our thoughts and perspectives can change when we add just one small element to something we are already know.
During this time of year especially, we can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of making everything “perfect.” In the middle of the chaos, surrounded by the goodness in life, as we recover from our never ending “food coma,” remember your blessings.
Be thankful for the simple things in your life. Treasure the people you love most and tell them so. End each night with a simple, “thank you” and you will feel blessed every day of your life.
Living a blessed life is never about having more than someone else…it’s about having enough to be happy.
Michelle A. Homme 2016 ©