Four years ago on this Thanksgiving, my life was in chaos. Those close to me know what I was going through. A new baby, a devastated heart and a whole lot of uncertainty. To say it was a shitty time in my life would be an understatement.
The next year wasn’t that much better. In fact looking back I think it was even worse than the year before. That was the first year I wasn’t with my kids for a holiday and the pain cut way deeper than I ever let on to anyone.
I try not to talk too much about the chaos of the past. Or the pain. Or the deep wounds that still exist inside of me and probably always will because of it. It tends to make people uncomfortable. But I’m talking about it today for a reason.
Even then…4 years ago, 3 years ago… when my life felt to me as if it couldn’t get any worse, I was grateful. Because when your life is hard, when your health has taken a nosedive or you have a parent who is dying or you’ve just lost your job, or you’re going through a divorce or someone very close to you has stopped speaking to you out of the blue and you have no idea why…. people SHOW UP.
Right? Do you remember a time in your life when this was happening and you were in awe of how the people in your life whether they be family, friends, co-workers or people who were just acquaintances… they showed UP? They held you and supported you and loved on you in ways you had never experienced in your life?
Because that’s what happened to me when I couldn’t pick myself up off the floor during that time. When I didn’t want to get out of bed. When I couldn’t make it through a day without crying. When I was filled with anger and rage at the person who had created so much turmoil and pain and heartache in my world, people showed up and I couldn’t have been more grateful.
Gratitude isn’t something we should only give when we’re getting what we want. Give it when you’re getting the stuff you don’t want.
Give it because it’s the most crucial time in your life when you need to be giving it. Give it because when you’re going through some hardship those little things you can reach for and give thanks for… that’s what’s going to carry you through.
Those two Thanksgivings where I felt my life would never be the same (and you know what…it isn’t and I’m actually grateful for that)…. I made a gratitude list. I won’t share all of it but it looked something like this:
Today I’m grateful for:
- My family
- Loving supportive friends
- My spirituality and faith
- My health
- My kids
- My job
- The knowledge that this too will pass
That last one was what I was most grateful for. I knew that what I was feeling would pass. I knew I was on a roller coaster that in that moment may have been careening downward at lightening speed but was going to climb it’s way back up to the top where I started. Life works that way.
You want to feel real gratitude? Every single day of your life say “thank you” to someone. Thank them for the little things. Thank them for being in your life. Thank them for something they did 4 years ago that meant the world to you but you never expressed to them. Thank them for listening. Thank them for telling you the harsh truth when you needed to hear it.
Thank someone right after you finish reading this for showing up for you.
Then watch the gratitude fill up your whole being when you see how that person responds and the way it lights them up.
It’s been just over 4 years from the day I laid crawled up in that fetal position on the floor of my living room wondering if I’d ever emerge from the depths of despair I was in. Wondering if I would ever feel that I was “enough” again.
I’m so grateful for that experience. Truly… I don’t say this because I’m trying to project some bullshit positive ending onto what was a pretty crappy story or because I want to look good. I say it because I learned to be grateful for the simplest things in my life no matter where I’m at or what’s happening in my life at the moment.
Don’t wait for things to change or be different in this moment to feel gratitude.
Gratitude turns what we already have into enough.
Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. May it be filled with peace, love, family and most of all…. GRATITUDE!