There is something about thankfulness. It has the power to change thought patterns. It gives birth to hope. It banishes despair, and opens eyes to see life. A holiday that has gratefulness as its centerpiece is a refreshing change from our daily negativity and complaining. Not that we always realize we are being negative. Sometimes it just takes us over, like a sickness, seemingly without our consent. The next thing we know, we are wallowing in self-pity and cannot see anything other than dis-appointment, dis-illusionment, and dis-couragement. All the dis-es gang up on us, attacking and causing us to feel alone. Dis-content follows. We wonder how we ever got here and what we can do to rid ourselves of this “dis-ease.”
I have the prescription. When you are frustrated, take a dose of thankfulness. If you are unsatisfied, take another. If you are down and out, fearful, and sad, triple the dosage. Make note, in order for this medicine to work you must take it in its entirety, three times a day, until your symptoms are all gone. Not sure how to start? It’s pretty easy really. All you need is paper, pencil, and a desire to get better. Then, make a list. It might seem hard at first because the dis-ease has infected your mind. However, as you continue treatment, you will find it will loosen its grip and you will once again feel like your old self. It is very important that you do not mix this medication with things that can counteract it, like watching the news, or listening to those complaining around you. It will still work, just not as quickly or effectively as if you cut out negativity cold turkey. To feel better, you must start treatment right away before the dis-ease takes over completely and becomes a chronic condition. I can’t think of a better day to begin than Thanksgiving. If you are having trouble getting started, here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order. Feel free to borrow them until your own medicine takes effect.
I am thankful for…
- Family. Seems obvious, but not everyone has a family that is loving and caring. I am a teacher, and I have seen some pretty horrible family situations.
- Friends. Another obvious one, unless you don’t have any.
- Faith. I can worship. Any time. All it takes is looking up and setting my heart towards God. How beautifully easy is that?
- Food. If you have it, you are better off than a significant percentage of the world.
- Shelter. (I thought about keeping the alliteration going, but not everyone lives on a farm.) A roof over my head, a bed to lie down in, protection from the elements. Again, the homeless of the world would love to have the security of shelter.
- Pets. They give love unconditionally. (except for cats, they have conditions) Even so, pets require us to have compassion. Never a bad thing.
- Mail. Seems silly, but getting mail, real or virtual, means someone cares about you. (Bills are not mail. Mail is made up of invitations, letters, and notes, or posts, private messages, and tweets.)
- Books. The whole world can sit on my shelves. What a miracle.
- Music. It exposes and explains my heart to me. It sings and plays my feelings. It comforts and keeps me company.
- Front porches. Even if you don’t have your own, if you have sat on one, you know the magic. Front porches are for slowing down your pace, and they are almost as effective as thankfulness at sewing contentment.
- Hikes. For me, my soul sings when I am hiking. It communes with God and for that I am beyond grateful.
- Birdsongs. When I was a teenager I would have never included this on my list, but now if the birds wake me up singing, it means I am alive for another day.
- Candles. The scented kind that smell up the whole house. And the ones on birthday cakes that mean I have lived another year.
- Paint. Colors that put my feelings on paper so I can SEE them. What a marvelous thing.
- Grocery stores. If not for them, I would be hunting in the woods trying to kill something and avoid poisonous plants. Not my cup of tea.
- Long conversations. Communicating, the ability to talk, think, and reason together is a blessing. Connection with others makes me a better person.
- Christmas. Ornaments. Lights. Decorations. All things Christmas make me smile. Jesus really is a gift to be thankful for.
- Bonfires. Similar to front porches, only with many friends.
- Pillows. I get to rest my head on a cloud at night. I am so pampered.
- Squirrels. The one outside my window, asked me to put him on my list. He is collecting acorns and his fluffy tail is quite splendid.
- Quilts. So it’s a bit chilly in my writing chair today, the quilt is cozy and keeps my feet warm as I write. What’s not to like about that?
- Hawks. They are majestic and regal sitting on the powerlines overlooking their domain. Their screech is the call that all is well.
- Mountains. I couldn’t live without them. They are the old ones…wise and so willing to share their wisdom.
- Dishwashers. I have been without one. Never want to do without again.
- Photographs. Capturing images. Cataloging memories. Looking back over them brings a warm fuzzy feeling.
- Bugs. I don’t like them, but they are important, so I choose to be thankful.
- Maps. They take me places.
- Lists. They remind me of things. To be done. To remember. To pick up. To be thankful for.
I could…and will go on…until I am completely cured, always looking, throughout my days, for things to add. I might just have to continue this treatment indefinitely…