Thanksgiving season is upon us! Thanksgiving is supposed to be about what we are thankful for. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) all I usually think about it the delicious food I am about to devour.
I have never really been good at being grateful. I very much so struggle with staring at the world through a lens of scarcity. I am more and more learning how to stop scavenging and to start giving. When I feel like I have nothing, or I am nothing, to serve or encourage someone else has been my way out of it. It is SO HARD. It is sometimes scary. Okay, it is mostly scary. But I always, always, always, walk away a little more free.
I read a book recently that taught me a lot about gratitude. It spoke to the heart change that happens when you discipline yourself to be grateful for what you already have.
Sometimes, it just the way the light reflects off the bubbles in a endless sink of dishes. But there’s always something to be grateful for.
I’m sure there’s some big spiritual theology behind gratitude and what it does for us. All I know is that when I am feeling negative and depression is knocking on my front door, if I start to think of things I am grateful for, it acts like repellent. Gratitude and negativity cannot live together, and gratitude ALWAYS wins.
The most wonderful thing is that when I discipline myself to look for these things, the things I am grateful for, then I somehow start to naturally see them. I notice the brilliant colors of the trees on my drive home from the grocery store. I soak in the conversations with friends that make me feel whole again, I cherish quiet mornings with a cup of coffee.
So our family started doing two things:
We created a grateful board, and hung it up in our house.
G and I, and anyone who comes into our home, can write down what they’re grateful for. It serves as a constant reminder to look for beauty and blessings, and as a reminder of what we already have. I stare at it often.
We ask each other, “What is something good that happened to you today?”
Often, it’s easy to complain about our day. The first thing we want to share is the crap. What we dealt with. But we also need to talk about, and remember the bright spots. Remove some of the weight of darkness by shining some light on it.
This season, I hope to continue to focus on the things I am grateful for. The memories I get to make. The people I get to be with. And I hope that focusing on those things gets easier. I am thankful for the beauty that is naturally around me every day, and I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to see more of it.