Pain Points at Thanksgiving
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
- William Arthur Ward, American Writer
I love that quote. But I'm also guilty of the flaw it exposes.
The truth is, when you step back and assess your life, you will undoubtedly experienced mixed feelings.
On one hand, you will realize how much you have to be thankful for.
On the other, you will discover places where pain resides.
There are really no exceptions to this. We must give ourselves permission to fully-experienced the mixed feelings that come when we reflect honestly about our situation in any moment of time.
Ok, I'll grant a few exceptions. When you held her hand for the first time...when you said, "I do,"...when you held your baby for the first time...when the Bronco's won that first Super Bowl...okay, everything felt perfect then.
The Pendulum of Emotions
But in reality, nothing is perfect for long. If you stand still long enough, reality will rear it's ugly head and creep in to threaten your joy. That's just life on this earth. That's the human experience.
Like a huge pendulum, life wants to swing us to extremes. Everything is perfect. Everything is horrible. Nothing in-between, just one big emotional pendulum, pulling away from the center, out to the farthest reaches of experience, then seemingly back to normal, only to launch out to the other extreme.
Truth be told, life doesn't have to be lived at the "either-or" extremes, it can and should be a "both-and" experience.
What's In This For You?
It's November and in the U.S., Thanksgiving Day is coming. While we should celebrate this holiday every day, 12 months a year, we would do well not to miss it on that fourth Thursday in November.
You and I should stop, take time to assess the big picture of our lives, and give thanks to God and to the people he has placed in our lives to bless us and to be blessed by us.
Gratitude and The Wheel of Life
When you look at the entire picture of your life, you can utilize the 8 areas of the Wheel of Life to get you started. Ask yourself, In what ways has God blessed and provided for me in the area of...
* Family & Friends
* Personal/Spiritual Growth
* Fun & Recreation
* Physical Environment
Think about what you do have, not what you don't have. You may not have enough money, but where does the money you do have come from? You may not like your work or school, but where does the ability to work or study come from? You may have strained relationships with family or friends, but what good people do you have? The man or woman in your life may disappoint you, but many reading these words would gladly trade places with you to have a man or a woman to be disappointed with. What part of your physical body does work well? What growth have you seen in yourself? What permitted pleasures are yours today? Do you have heat, running water, and a bed at night?
Nothing is Perfect.
But you and I must and should count the blessings God has given us and express gratitude for them. While we're at it, we should thank the people he has placed in our lives to provide those blessings. Think of bosses, co-workers, clients and customers, investors, consultants, counselors, teachers, preachers, coaches, service and repair people, customer service, loan officers, mortgage brokers, insurance people, friends, neighbors, parents, siblings, kids, cousins, spouses, and dogs. And, I guess, cats.
Again, none of these people are perfect. But neither are you. You may deserve better, but so do they. It's a world of mixed-feelings and deep disappointments, but Scripture says: "In everything, give thanks".
Changes May Be In Order
Now remember, not everything that is the way it is should stay the way it is. That's my doctrine and call to action. You can and should make positive changes where you feel led to do so. Do no harm, but move toward health in your job, relationships, personal finances, etcetera. As the hubbub of the holidays reaches full-tilt, don't forget to stop, count your blessings, and assess your situation.
I will write and produce materials to help you do that, but don't wait for me. Stop. Listen to your heart. Determine what matters most to you. Decide to put such things on the front burner. And get your business done.
Honest Abe's Timing Was Perfect
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, you may find it interesting to note that it was in 1863, in the midst of the bloodiest war in the history of our nation, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens".
It wasn't about food, family, and football, but about giving thanks to God for the blessings we do enjoy in the midst of realities that break our hearts.
So What? Now What?
* Take out your calendar and find a time, make an appointment with you. Write it in there -- My Meeting With Myself. Protect it from intruders. Then use it to write a song, paint a picture, pen a poem, make a list, or to get on your knees and give thanks.
* If you find this rambling rant helpful, share it with a friend.
God bless you.