“The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts.” Marcus Aurelius
Thanksgiving may be very tough this year unless we make this holiday a time for truly Giving Thanks.
As I sat down to write this I found myself thinking about a time in my life when giving thanks for anything was very difficult. Our 16-year-old son was dying, his medical bills were fast approaching the limits of our major medical insurance policy, and fear was an unwanted visitor in our home.
One day when I thought I couldn’t possibly go on if things didn’t change, I realized that to survive I had to find reasons to be thankful. And so before I went to sleep each night I began reviewing my day trying to find something good to acknowledge. That first day there was a nurse whose warm smile made a tough treatment easier for Eric, and on the way home we saw daffodils in bloom. While my list of positives grew slowly at first, over time it increased substantially.
Despite the differences in circumstances, I suspect my initial feelings back then are like those widespread in America and beyond today. It’s hard to be thankful when life is uncertain: hard, but important, as our attitude can have a major impact on our survival in tough times.
As my list of things to give thanks for grew longer I found it was easier to relax and go to sleep. Eventually it became such an important part of my life that even on the day our son died I was able to find one thing to thank God for – the fact Eric wasn’t suffering anymore.
I didn’t want to write about this personal experience of learning to give thanks, but after a lot of tears and a number of unsuccessful tries to say something else, I knew I had to do it.
These past few months have been difficult for all of us in many different ways, and frightening too because of the uncertainties we have to face every day. But for all of us, our attitude can have a major impact on our mental health in the days that lie ahead.
Blessings on your efforts to find reasons to give thanks,
November 23, 2020