Reminders to be thankful are everywhere, even as this Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end.
Some of my friends did a Thanksgiving journal and during the entire month of November, they wrote about one thing they are thankful for each day. Even if it is just a sentence or a quick post on Facebook. I followed their posts last week and was reminded to consider the largest to the smallest of my many blessings.
Some friends do a gratitude list and read it at Thanksgiving celebrations. Again, my list would be long and detailed because I have much to enjoy.
Last year, my family went around the circle as we prayed and named what we were most thankful for on that day. I didn’t plan that well, however, because our meal was almost cold by the time we got to it.
While I often share my struggles and my blessings in my writing, I keep a lot of secrets — those big things in my life that I assume people would see me differently if I put them on paper.
But this year, I am thankful for my shortcomings. My fear of being judged has become secondary to my faith.
This year, I am thankful that I struggle with depression. Big, capital letters, medicated depression. Most people would not guess that of me (or maybe you would), but I own it. It has been a generational problem on both my maternal and fraternal families, but now I take medication and am changing my lifestyle to deal with it. I’m thankful for the people in my life that made it okay for me to seek help.
When I was in college, my parents adopted a baby. He is only 4 years older than my daughter and Michael spent a lot of time with us when he was younger. “Sam”, as I affectionately called him, was like a second child — until he became a teenager and started drinking and using drugs. I couldn’t rescue him from his addiction and had to walk away. He was a client in the criminal justice system and I was an officer of the court. We didn’t speak for several years.
This year, I am thankful that he was able to celebrate his 28th birthday and nine months of sobriety with his family. I am thankful for healing in that relationship.
I am thankful for the relationship that I have with my other brother Larry and my soon-to-be sister-in-law. I used to beat him up for breathing wrong, but now I don’t have enough space to list the ways that I am blessed.
I am thankful for my mom’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. While she can make me crazy (that is not new), I have been forced into a caregiver role which has made me more compassionate (this is new). It has helped me see my limits more than I ever have before.
Two weekends ago, my husband and I traveled to Elkhorn for a marriage date night event. I’m thankful that we invested in our marriage for that time together. It’s not something that we do often, and while I always list family as a blessing, I heard a message that night that enlightened me.
All those things that I thought as being a priority in my life — family, marriage, and my children — do they get the biggest chunk of my time?
No, not even close.
I am most thankful for grace this year. I am thankful that I can be imperfect and still be loved.
What was on your gratitude list this Thanksgiving?