On this day of Thanksgiving 2020
On this day of Thanksgiving, we are supposed to make time to be grateful and give thanks.
But how is it possible to be grateful for a year that has been as difficult as 2020? A pandemic that is claimed the lives around the world. Not to mention wildfires, hurricanes, contested elections, civil unrest and horrible moments of inhumanity seemingly everywhere you turn.
We did not want these problems. But they did happen. And while they are not all our fault, it is up to us what we do with them, what we turn them into, how we manage to become better for them.
On the surface, much of what we are upset about or wish had not occurred is so unpleasant that gratitude seems impossible. But if we can zoom out for that more complete view, understanding and appreciation can emerge.
First off, you are alive. That is the silver lining of every bad situation and should not be forgotten because our time here could end at any moment. Second, everything that has happened and is happening is bringing you to where you are and contributing to the person you have become. Lastly, this has all happened before and will happen again, “there is nothing new under the sun” - Ecclesiastes 1:9
We should not just be thankful for the gifts we receive, and our relationships with friends and family but also be aware of and grateful for the setbacks and annoyances. For the difficult coworkers and the nagging in-laws, for the stress they put on us and whatever other difficulties we might be experiencing. Why? Because it is all of those things, interconnected and interdependent, that made you who and what you are today. It is only by seeing the totality of things, good and bad, that you gain the understanding necessary to be truly grateful.
As you sit here celebrating this Thanksgiving take the time to appreciate the moment and give thanks for all the obvious and bountiful gifts that the moment presents. Then look for the good within the bad and be sure to be thankful for everything in your life, even the things you would have never wished for. Because it is in seeing the full picture, and seeking to understand it, that you gain the ability to express true gratitude, now and forever.