Choosing To Be Thankful
For some, thankfulness this year on Thanksgiving is actually quite hard. This was the reality for me four years ago, the first Thanksgiving (and major holiday season) after losing Sawyer. Just the year before we had been consumed with excitement through the holidays because we had a baby on the way. The difference from one year to the next was heart breaking. Now, this may not be the case for everyone – losing a baby over the last year; but it is likely that there is an empty seat at your table and you are finding it hard to be thankful. One thing I can assure you of is that struggling to give thanks does NOT make you a bad person or a terrible person. Losing someone is incredibly difficult but the holidays can amplify that by how much time we spend with others.
Choosing to be Thankful
My challenge this year to you is to focus on the good. Find one thing that you can be thankful for this year and focus in on that. Repeat it to yourself over and over. A lot of my “thankfulness” in the year 2013 came from the memories of the 18 days we did have for Sawyer. This year I am making a list of 8 things I am thankful for and they all correlate with the letters of the word “thankful”. Now, even four years out I am still both thankful and sad at the same time, and that is perfectly okay.
T – Time; I am thankful for the time I have been given with each person in my life. Some are put in our lives to change us and some to help us grow. Everyone, whether passing through or staying for a while, has a purpose in our life and I am thankful for that time they spent in mine.
H – Husband; I am thankful for my husband. We are coming up on almost 6 years of marriage and 10 years together. We have been through hell and back and not once have we ever questioned our love for each other. I love his continual support of my adventures in life.
A – Another Year; There was a time when another year was super painful. It meant a new year that had not contained a glimpse of Sawyer. I realized, though, that he will always be a part of me. Now, new years are exciting to me because there are a lot of adventures happening in our life. We are continually in awe of all God is doing in our lives.
N – New Beginnings; I have had quite a few new beginnings over the last 6 or so years. Not necessarily full start your whole life over, but moving in a different direction. Each place God has taken me has taught me more about myself and I am excited and thankful for the future.
K – Kids; I feel like this is a given, but it’s true. I am so thankful for each and everyone of my children. It is easy for me to miss Sawyer and the empty seat around our table without him. Yet, there are so many other little blessings; my own and those of others; that fill the room. I am so thankful to be surrounded by family on these major holidays to enjoy spending time together and soaking in all of the joy through the eyes of children. Rhett is so easily impressed – his favorite phrase is “WOW!” and Rhory is becoming incredibly more and more observant. I love all of her discoveries. Her latest is “Jesus was born yesterday!” She has no concept of time but she is starting to grasp that Jesus is the reason for the upcoming Christmas season.
F – Father; Through it all, I am exponentially thankful for my Heavenly Father. He has stood before me in many trials of my life and I am consistently in awe of how he provides in my life. I am not a patient person and have struggled with trusting Him and His plan in the past, but His guidance is never failing.
U – Unity; As a teenager I experienced a lot of disunity. I didn’t have a tight friend group and did not feel really connected to any group of people. As I have grown up, started a family, and been a working member of society – I have found a lot of unity. I love the team I work with at school and the support we all continually give each other. I have worked with groups of people who were out to bring others down, but this is not the case. In my marriage I feel more unified than ever before and I am so thankful that my husband is my partner in this wild ride of life.
L – Love; So. Much. Love. My heart just bursts thinking of all those I love and those that love me. With all the hate in the world that is portrayed all over the news, it helps to look close around you and see the love that others have for one another. Focus on the good.
As I said before, I know that an empty seat at the table can feel overwhelming and incredibly sad. Focus on one good thing. What is that one thing you can choose to be thankful for this year? Nothing is too small!
May you feel loved,