I have a Thanksgiving mug which has the words “Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart” written inside of it. The mug was a present and was purchased from the gift shop of my favourite American restaurant, Cracker Barrel, making it all the more special. Thanksgiving mugs aren’t all that common, I realize, but I use this one all of the time. It’s usually the mug I grab first because, not only is it big (I have to have my coffee in a BIG mug), but it also reminds me that being thankful shouldn’t be a once a year event.
(Photo courtesy of me)
We may have been trained from a young age to say thank you, but how many of us remember to be truly grateful and to give thanks with a grateful heart for all that we have?
It’s quite easy to lament and complain about “the way things are”. We may even walk around feeling “burdened” by all that we have to do and to be responsible for. Trust me, I know. Sometimes I feel like I spend half of my time trying to unload the burdens of the world off of my shoulders before I can even begin to take care of my own responsibilities.
I have always been someone who takes things to heart and feels responsible for a lot, probably more than I should. It’s just the way I’m programmed, I suppose. Some days it feels like I’m literally walking on my knees, the weight of ‘everything’ keeping me from standing up straight. Add to that the pressures of work, finances, family life, and extracurricular events and it’s easy to see how much there could be to complain and grumble about. Eighty percent of the time this is exactly where I go wrong: this is the point where I stumble, and sometimes even fall, under my load.
I forget to be grateful.
If I didn’t have a deep thinking, feeling mind and a big heart, the problems of others wouldn’t bother me. I’d be able to live my life unfazed by the trials and tribulations that others (loved ones, friends, even just people I know) are going through. I’d probably be able to say, “Oh that’s too bad” (insert temporary, sad, sympathetic look here) and move on with whatever I was doing at the time. I wouldn’t lose sleep worrying over a family member’s health, being concerned about a friend’s lack of communication, or experiencing the dread of waiting on the medical diagnosis of a friend’s child. These things wouldn’t affect my life, BUT I am grateful that they do.
I have a strong mind and a caring heart AND that is why I have many people to love and to be loved by. I sympathize and am able to empathize with others which help me relate to and care for them. I can share my strength to get them through the rough times and they will do the same for me. I am grateful for this.
Work and finances can be stressful. I personally don’t know anyone who has not had at least a bit of stress in these areas at one point in their life or another. It would be nice to have zero stress at work and in dealing with money to be able to do or spend as freely as one pleased. I wouldn’t lie awake worrying at night why I can’t seem to make progress with a student or if I remembered to pay the bills (or even if there’s more month than money at this point in time). If I didn’t have these concerns then they wouldn’t really affect my life, or my sleep, BUT I am grateful that they do.
I have a job and an income. My job brings me a lot of satisfaction and I enjoy it. Paying bills means that I have a home and that I live comfortably. I have all of these things because I have worked hard for them and because I have been blessed. I am grateful for this.
My family life and extracurricular events can be pretty demanding. It’s tempting sometimes to say, “Mommy is putting herself on a time-out”! Sometimes it feels like a “break” is desperately needed; everyone needs something from you, they need it all at once, and they need it right now! There doesn’t seem to be more than the odd evening where there isn’t something that one parent has to run to or the other. If these things weren’t a part of my life, we wouldn’t experience the love of a family and the joy of watching our children succeed and have fun, SO I’m grateful that they do.
I have a family and a full life. We are busy, but this means that our kids are active and healthy and are able to do many things that they enjoy. I am grateful for this.
Many of us may forget to be grateful. We may spend most of our time and energy feeling overwhelmed, burdened, and perhaps even resentful of the issues in our life. But it is these issues that remind us that we are alive and that we are capable of seeing these things through. These issues prove to us that we have many things in our lives worth fighting for. The trying moments remind us to appreciate the good. The days/weeks we feel unwell serve as a reminder to appreciate good health when we have it. The moments that we would rather forget need to be remembered because they will guide us to better actions in the future.
We need to be grateful for all of the good things in our lives, but also for the not so good things, for they all make us who we are. If you are struggling with being thankful right now, be grateful for the times you have fallen because each and every time you have gotten back up. Be grateful for the strength which keeps you going each day.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday where we can remember all that we have to be thankful for, but we really need to give thanks with a grateful heart every day.
After all, we have so much to be truly grateful for.