For Americans, this is the week we celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a tricky topic, not a religious holiday, though often treated like one, and often not much about giving thanks. We spend the holiday worrying if there will be enough to eat, then we eat too much and sleep it off in front of the television. We watch football and parades. We shop, we consume, and we indulge ourselves! It can be hectic and noisy and often after the celebration, we realize we must have missed great chunks of what went on because of the chaos of the holiday.
On Facebook, there are ongoing 30 days of Thankfulness postings. I have enjoyed reading them. I have even posted my own. From one of my most clever friends, there has come a very comical/satirical series of postings in reply to these called: “15 days of unthankfulness”. He is a person it has been my delight to know since he was a child?... teen?....for a long time! Let’s just say I have known him since I was a grownup and he was not. He is clever and honest and always makes me think.
The thankfulness postings have caused me to pause and think too. I have found that on some of these days, I have struggled to find something to post that I was thankful for. I think I need to think about that. My life is good. I have all I need and just about anything I want. I even have some things I didn’t know I wanted. So why am I having to struggle to find things to be thankful for?
I know what I would tell my girls. I would tell them they have a bad attitude! So I guess I should say, “Self, you have a bad attitude!” The problem is, people like me have a hard time listening to our own advice. What I think I see so clearly in others, I have a hard time dealing with in my own life. My mouth works and my ears don’t. I wish I was the perfect person I so often portray myself to be. If those closest to me were the mirror through which I saw myself, I know I would be appalled.
For longer than I want to admit, I have been what can only be described as a crotchety old woman. I could blame it on the fact that I am turning 50 in a couple of months and getting older just comes with a lot of changes. Or, I could blame it on the year we have had. Those close to me understand what a year that has been. But, I don’t think those reasons would be true. Lots of people turn 50 and everybody has times when they have to go into crisis mode, for whatever reason.
The truth is inside me. It is in how I spend my time and what I value or don’t value enough. It is about having a self centered life instead of a Christ centered life. I worry about appearance over substance. I seem to be locked in this fog of inactivity and indifference. Wondering where the days went and worrying over what I didn’t do but also obviously not caring enough to do it.
So what must I do to go from grumpy to glad? It is not enough to say I am thankful for ...I have to find a way to feel it. I need to really start to see things as they are. Honestly, at almost 50, I need to grow up. Sometimes my children see things a certain way, but their perception is not based in reality. I think that is part of my problem, but I am not a child. The world does not revolve around me, believe it or not. I guess it is time I realized that. It is time I finally see all I really have.
I have a God who loves me, who provided a way for me to be with Him. I have a wonderful network of family and friends. I have children who, when I actually look at the problems some parents face today, are no problem at all. In fact, they are real blessings. I have a husband who has stood by me for almost 25 years, even though I am selfish and grumpy. He is steadfast and faithful and so, so good to me. I do not deserve his love but he gives it to me day in and day out anyway. I have parents I can still go to for advice and brothers who are there if I need them. I could go on and on with all I have.
Now all I need is an attitude/heart change and with God’s help that is one thing I can give myself. In the VeggieTales story about Madame Blueberry it says, “A thankful heart is a happy heart.” So, I will make an effort to start looking at life the way it really is. I will attempt to clear the fog and get on with things. I will open my eyes and be thankful, at least I will try. Today I will be thankful for YOU. If you see me with my grump on, let me know!