Today is Thanksgiving, just one day that we give thanks for what is most important in life.
We tend to take everything for granted, complain about things we don’t have or life directing us to a wrong turn, or perhaps feel inadequate next to others who we view as more accomplished, all the while forgetting about things for which we have been blessed.
Sure, I could moan and whine about things that went wrong in my life, the times I made poor judgment calls, mull on things done in the past for which I’m not proud, and all the times I was judgmental, intolerant, impatient, and outright bad-tempered, but why? It was just easier for me to own and come to terms with everything, because we can’t change the past.
However, we can enjoy the present and shape our futures by focusing on being thankful for things and people in our lives.
I give thanks for God. No, I’m not an overly religious person; I prefer to view myself as spiritual. In any case, I believe there is a being greater than myself with additional plans for my life before He calls me to leave Earth forever. While He has given me many challenges while I traveled the road of my Presbyterian faith, I’ve also been blessed with more goodness and joy than I can count on both fingers and toes. Neither a day begins without gratitude nor ends without prayer.
I give thanks for my friends both in real life and the Internet. I’ve met so many wonderful people the last decade or so, be it through sharing common interests, readers who discovered my books, sharing tales of victory and defeat with fellow authors, offered reassurances through my last two health scares, and even having the honor to chat with someone online whose work I admired several years earlier. I could go on all day, but there’s still plenty of thankfulness to spread in other areas.
I give thanks for food in the cupboards, clothes in my closets, and a roof over my head. Some may view my current living quarters as not the greatest, but the place makes me happy or I wouldn’t have stood almost 15 years. I was homeless almost two decades ago for nine months following a job loss and building fire. Let’s just say those nine months were not pleasant many times and leave it at that, but I did learn that not everything in life is guaranteed and had the honor of meeting other people who stood positive despite our dismal existences at the time.
Keeping optimistic helped me find another job, save enough money for somewhere else to live until I found a more ideal place, and take advantage of resources offered by the shelter before landing on my feet. Not many people in similar situations – be it through economic circumstances, chronic illnesses or other physical challenges, mental disorders, substance abuse, fleeing from domestic violence, or other reasons – bounced back quickly as I did. I can no longer work full time, but I prefer to focus my energies on where I can use my current abilities and skills, such as writing, rather on things no longer attainable to me. Remember, no matter how bad life can be fore us at times, there’s always someone else dealing with far worse.
I give thanks for our men and women in the military. As the daughter and sister of veterans, I have utmost respect for those who literally put lives and limbs on the line defending the freedoms of our great United States, yet those brave men and women receive far less accolades than rightfully deserved. Most are unable to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families and friends, so keep our overseas soldiers in your thoughts and prayers.
I give thanks for my health both physically and mentally. Sounds strange considering everything I’ve been through, doesn’t it? Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Dythymic Disorder, idopathic cardiomyopathy, Prinzmetal’s angina, idiopathic seizure disorder, hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis in both knees, a rare digestive disorder, partial hearing loss, and obstructive sleep apnea…and those are just for starters.
Even with facing the liklihood of having knee replacement surgery (both of them) in the coming year, I still feel somewhat improved health wise than 20 years ago. I managed to get most problems under control with correct treatments and lifestyle changes and accepted the fact others remain with me rest of my life, so I must take the appropriate medications to keep them under control. That aside, days I wake up and take care of what needs done on my own are always good days.
I give thanks for my outstanding significant other. Don has been my biggest rock for the last two years. He’s dealt with my eccentric moments, accompanied me to medical appointments, given occasional financial help whether I needed it or not, my sounding board when I needed to rant, picked up tampons at the drugstore when I couldn’t get there (poor guy, LOL), spoils my cats much as I do (he’s not usually a cat person-go figure!), and given advice on my manuscripts, among other things. He is truly a blessing.
There are so many things for which we should be thankful, whether times are sad or happy. My parents have been gone for a little over two decades; they would’ve had their 68th wedding anniversary this past November 2 had they lived. One of my sisters has been gone two years, and one of my best friends eight. I still believe all are in a good place and no longer in pain from their respective illnesses.
I wish all of you a safe, blessed, and joyful Thanksgiving. May all of us wake up tomorrow and given another day as God chooses. Being thankful doesn’t end with Thanksgiving.