November, a month of gratitude and thanksgiving. How beautiful it is that we have a holiday dedicated to giving thanks. In the past I've made lists of things I'm grateful for or simply sat and pondered all the blessings I have. But I've noticed something about these activities. It is easy to find gratitude for experiences and things that I enjoy. But what about the harder circumstances? Or things I don't love about myself or my life? I've had some recent experiences that have really taught me about finding gratitude, faith and hope in very difficult circumstances.
Last month my uncle was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. After fighting hard for 4 weeks, he eventually passed away. It was such a horrible and unexpected whirlwind. But as I think back on his funeral and my aunts reactions to this hardship I am amazed at the faith and gratitude I witnessed. Every speaker and prayer that was offered gave thanks for the opportunity for knowing my uncle. To witness the amazing life he led and to have been a recipient of his goodness. It was truly a celebration of his life. I remember the gratitude I felt for his life and the large family we have to offer love and support. There were no bitter or angry feelings. Sorrow and mourning, definitely, but also an amazing sense of peace, love and gratitude to God that we knew him and that we would see him again.
I have a friend who has been fighting against brain cancer for over 5 years. She is now confined to her bed, completely blind, and in frequent pain. But as a neighbor said, when you ask her "how are you today?" she always answers "so good". She then proceeds to tell you what she was grateful for in that day. Large or small, she notices them and is grateful for them. She gives gratitude for her supportive family and friends and the people that influence and love her children. She has never given up hope in her life, even in the most despairing of circumstances. She always loves and trusts God and gives thanks.
From witnessing these two circumstances I have been amazed at the ability people have to give thanks, when you could argue, there is nothing to be thankful for. They have proven to me that gratitude can be found in the darkest of times. I've learned that gratitude is healing, it brings a power of positivity, peace, and hope that nothing else can. Gratitude allows us to focus on the good in our lives no matter what we go through.
So, this holiday season, I'm going to look at the things I don't like about myself, my life or my situation and find the good. Whether it's my body, my job, my relationships, or my shortcomings. There is always good, there is always something to appreciate.
I hope you can find the inspiring peace and happiness that comes from gratitude this Thanksgiving! No matter the struggle!