I’d like to think that I’m a fairly “thankful” person. At least for one day in the middle of November, I can convince myself that I have a lot of things to be thankful for. I call myself “grateful” because I can usually name at least ten things that I’m thankful for when things are going well and life is easy. But what does it really look like live a life of thankfulness?
Every Thanksgiving my family goes around the table and we share one thing that we are thankful for. Every single year I sit in my seat panicking about what I’m going to share with the group. Should I say, “my family” and risk sounding generic? Or, should I try to be clever and think of something outside the box? By the time it’s my turn, most of the good ones have been taken and I get stuck coming up with something on the spot. In that flash moment my mind recalls an entire life’s worth of memories and I’m forced to think back on the things I’m truly thankful for.
There are seasons in life where giving thanks comes naturally. It’s easy to give thanks when your job is secure, when your GPA is high, or when you’re close with the people you love. Sadly, it’s during those times of great prosperity and contentment that we often forget to be thankful. We get so caught up in our happiness and success, that we forget to count our blessings. When prompted, we can list things we’re thankful for, but we struggle to truly feel thankful on a daily basis.
Conversely, there are times where we can hardly think of anything to be thankful for. It’s a lot harder to give thanks when a loved one dies, when you’re student loans are crippling you, or your significant other breaks up with you. It’s hard to see past our poor circumstances and remember the things that we have been given. During these times we are quick to feel sorry for ourselves, but it is often during these trials that we become aware of the things we are most grateful for.
It’s easy enough to be thankful and count our blessings when we’re surrounded by the ones we love and eating our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. But what about when those hard times come our way? Thanksgiving should serve as a reminder of our need to develop a habit of being thankful in all circumstances. So, this Thanksgiving let’s pursue a lifestyle of gratitude.