It’s the season to be thankful. Americans all over the country are celebrating Thanksgiving next week. This got me thinking about thankfulness, gratitude, and joy. It seems to me that it’s easier to focus on being thankful during the Thanksgiving season. In my family, it’s tradition to do a thankfulness exercise at Thanksgiving, where we go around the table and say something we are thankful for about the person to our right.
The first Thanksgiving, that my now husband and I were dating, he was to my Dad’s right. And my Dad said “I’m thankful for Bradley and that he can marry my daughter. “ Y’all! I almost crawled under the table and died right there on the spot!! But if you know my New York-bred Father, you know he says whatever is on his mind.
For many people, thankfulness and gratitude are second nature, perhaps a personality trait that they are born with. And then there are others, who might find it harder to practice gratitude given their empty glass outlook or a platter full of trauma and hardships that they’ve been served in their lifetime.
But really, true thankfulness comes from within and it is called Joy. There are many seasons of our lives, where the circumstance would not dictate a joyful heart, and yet many people still remain joyful or hold a posture of joy during a very hard season. How do they do this? They achieve this because Joy is something that comes from deep within one’s soul.
This season my family is very troubled about an injustice being done to my uncle, who is medically imprisoned by the State of WI in the name of “dementia care”. Two years ago, I lost my sister-in-law right before this thankful season. Some of you have lost parents in the past year, or friends or siblings, even aunts and uncles. There are many Americans this year who are experiencing financial hardships as the economy is crushing. Others enter into every Thanksgiving season with the usual grief and trauma they’ve carried for many years due to childhood circumstances.
And so how can you navigate a thankful season with a joyful heart even if you don’t feel thankful? You search down deep and you practice finding Joy in every little detail of life. You notice a tiny little bluebird hopping along a fence line. You see a little girl in the ice cream line and watch her face light up as she takes a bite of the ice cream cone her GranDaddy bought her. You hold the door for a stranger and exchange a human hello in the name of a smile. If you’re a person of faith like I am, you find Joy deep within because you know Whom your joy comes from.
You, me, we – can cultivate Joy. We can foster Thankfulness 364 other days of the year as well.
I’m thankful for each of you at One80. I’m thankful you have the talent to help others heal. I find Joy in living out a purpose and calling in this life leading One80.
Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours and May you eat all the stuffing and pie your heart desires!