What is there to be thankful for?
Some things to be thankful for …
It seems that turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin and apple pies and more were just served as America celebrated Thanksgiving, 2018. Before you know it, the feast for 2019 will be shared by families across the country. For many, things to be thankful for will easily roll off the tongue. For too many others, they will hesitate when asked what they are thankful for.
Working for years in the death care industry, I have found families that have lost someone dear to them quite often find it difficult to feel thankful about very much, especially during the holidays. Broken hearts seem to filter out much that is good in one’s life. Focus is on that which is not going right and what is more wrong than a death of a loved one?
I am not going to play psychiatrist here, but I would like to offer a few interesting thoughts. If you are reading this, then you have your eyesight, so put that in the plus column for things to be thankful for. If you do not have your sight but are listening to someone read this to you, then add another positive to this column as you have your hearing.
If you walk into the dining room on November 28, regardless of where you plan on having Thanksgiving dinner, you can be thankful that you can walk, that you can smell the delicious food, and that you can enjoy the tastes of turkey and pie. When you greet those who you will be sharing dinner with you, be aware of your sense of touch, and how nice it is to get and to give a hug or a kiss. Love is amazing, and it is always something to be thankful for.
Yes, you may not have the physical presence of your lost loved one, but you will always have the memories of all those special times that were shared. So, add memories to your list of things to be grateful for, along with the ability to think, and speak and share. And then there are the obvious things in most of our lives that are blessings that are not always acknowledged: having a job (income), having a roof over our heads, running water, transportation, food on a daily basis, and good, clean water to drink.
In this country, we are blessed with material things beyond the imagination of so many people from third world countries. It seems that even our homeless have cell phones, as do each of us and our kids and everyone we know. A trip to the grocery store becomes a challenge to our decision-making process as there are so many versions of food and cleaning supplies and on and on to choose from.
In fact, many years ago I worked in NYC and we had some Russian immigrants working with us. I asked one of the ladies what she was most impressed with in the USA. I thought she would say the tall buildings in the city or the statue of Liberty but no, she was most impressed with our grocery stores. As mentioned above, she was stunned by the number of choices. In Russia, she stood in lines to buy a loaf of bread. So, add grocery stores to your list of things to be thankful for.
Sadly, many people that are hurting from a death of a close loved one forgets to be open to the love of those suffering with her or him, whether friends or family members. When a child dies, sometimes grief squeezes out our other children who are also suffering from the loss. There is so much love and living to be shared with our circle of love and influence, even when someone important to us dies. It is important to grieve, and we all do so in different ways. But it is something to remember, in the middle of those lonely nights, that we still have so much to be thankful for.
When you sit with family and friends this Thanksgiving, think on some of the blessing that you do have. One of the most important blessings is good health, so if you are feeling good, and have eyes to see and ears to hear, the sense of taste and touch and you enjoy even some of the things mentioned above, feel comfortable expressing your appreciation…when it is your turn to tell everyone at the table what you are thankful for. I even feel thankful, at this very moment, that you have taken the time to read these words. Please know that they are written just for you.
I will conclude with a personal note from me. If you have not discovered the source of all that there is to be thankful for, I suggest you pick up a bible and you will find so many things to be thankful for. My biggest thanks go to God and you can see why when you spend some time in the new testament. For now, Happy Thanksgiving to all and may I wish your holiday season is filled with love, joy and peace and good health.