To be thankful in any circumstance is not easy. It can seem, to the casual observer, that to be thankful even as you are inundated by the dramas of life is to have your head “buried in the sand”. I have known people who have that false cheerful vibe, and you know they are a miserable sod on the inside. Those people scare me. I am not talking about a disconnected relationship with reality. I am talking about actively looking for, and finding, the truly wonderful gifts we are given, every day.
I personally find a lot of solace in humor, and when things get tough, I tend to get sarcastic. This month, partaking once more in 30 Days of Thankful, I have not always been very serious. I have written about being thankful for things like chili sauce, for example. Or my pancreas. But seriously, sometimes you really are grasping for anything. On a day when you have heard nothing but bad news, and you have to find SOMETHING… it can be hard. But… those exercises still have value. Perhaps they even have MORE value than the “easy” ones.
It is easy to be thankful for the sun, for oxygen, for God, for Science, for whatever keeps you going, day after day. To be thankful for one’s family, friends… to remember those things is obviously paramount. People that forget that the sun will rise again, that they have the love and support of others, those are the people that we tend to worry about. But what about the person who IS conscious of those things? The person who KNOWS “every day is a gift” and yet… can’t find daily joy? No amount of “cheering up” is enough to touch that emptiness. Those are the people I relate to.
I KNOW I am blessed. All I have to do is look next to me as I wake up in the morning to know how very blessed I am. A phone call, a Skype session, a text message or chat… my life is full of friends and family who love me, who I love in return. I know the sun will rise, I know “this too shall pass”, I know my life is more than my circumstances. But I still lose the joy. I still find myself in those dark places, wondering where the light went. Everything feels so heavy, and I can barely breathe from the weight of it.
Then, out of that heaviness comes something… some small thing. Perhaps I read a quote, or am told a joke, or just maybe my brain throws something out of the void that makes me laugh. Perhaps is it just scrambling around for something to mask the taste of leftover parsnips sparks the idea that sweet chili sauce is a brilliant invention…
Recognize those moments for what they are. The salvation that comes from finding something in the grind of every day for which to be thankful, to realize you have the strength to BE thankful for those small things, THAT is the miracle. Those are the moments of true gratitude.