After staring at plates filled with turkey, potatoes, green beans, stuffing and all other festive deliciosities our mothers and grandmothers cooked up for Thanksgiving, we may find it easy to be thankful for the food that was front of us. After saying goodbye to sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins and in-laws flying in from other states or maybe even other countries, we may find it easy to be thankful for the family that surrounded us. With our houses and dining rooms having been decorated in fall leaves, twinkling lights apple-spice candles and, soon, more christmas festivities than we ever dreamed, we may find it easy to be thankful for the houses that warm us and keep us comfy and cozy. But how often do we find ourselves giving thanks for the moments in life that made us hurt, that made us angry and uncomfortable, when we lost our appetite, when we fell asleep on a pillow wet with tears? When was the last time you were thankful for the storms in life, not just the days of sunshine? If you’re like me, it’s been a while, close to never.
This week, many of us have the holliday goggles on–where we see nothing but joy and family festivities. It’s easy to be thankful when you don’t see hardship. The truth is, there’s a lot of ugly in the world. There’s a lot of pain in the world. Since the recent presidential election, friends have turned on each other, families have divided and neighborhoods will never be the same. The pilgrims weren’t having the best go of things when the holiday of thanksgiving was created. Thanksgiving did not come from seeds of ease and smiles. It grew out of hostile soil, from hunger and disease and immense trail. Thanksgiving was never meant to be a holiday where we all come together and give thanks because our lives are going right. Thanksgiving was always about giving thanks within trials and tribulations. To give thanks is to rise above the current situation and believe and hope for something better coming down the road, to believe that there is a light at the end of a winding tunnel even when we can’t see it.
To all who have been seen though a rough and trying year, to those who are weary and down-right exhausted, to those who feel down in the dumps of the dumps, give thanks for your trials. It may be a cliche, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Give thanks for the trials that shape us into the people we are meant to be, the stronger individuals we were always destined to become. Give thanks and be a beacon of hope to those who have none. Give thanks in the middle of the storm because as long as you’re standing, that means your trials have not gotten the best of you. Stand strong by giving thanks and rising above the hardship. Like a grain of sand in a clam, agitation creates pearls. Be thankful for struggles, it gives you an excuse to eat as much left-over turkey and holiday cookies as you want as you want.