A Tough Year to Give Thanks

SadnessI don’t know about you, but it’s been a tough year for me, for my entire family. There’s been job loss with the corresponding loss of income. My mother-in-law passed away just two days before my husband’s birthday, four days before mine. There’s been some degree of depression (not necessarily clinical, just a general feeling of blah). Various family members undergoing surgery, or being diagnosed with various life-threatening illnesses. Not to mention a myriad other things, most of them small, and too private to mention here.

Yeah, it’s a tough year to be giving thanks.

Those who know me, though, are probably having difficulty picturing me moping around, feeling sorry for myself. They’d be right: I’m always smiling, unless I’m angry (a thing I am told is not a pretty sight). Yet this year, it all feels a bit forced. Even the buoying effect of the election of an African-American man to the Presidency is wearing off. After all, the full effect of what he will do likely won’t be felt for months. Meantime, all I have is the routine of the every day.

There is a comfort in that, though. Knowing that every day I can get up from a comfortable warm bed, that even if it’s not a working day, there is something I can do. Helping my husband in his work, or assisting the children in their endeavors, even the personal satisfaction of blogging. The fact that I have a job and don’t seem in any immediate danger of losing it is a blessing, the most important one of all in these difficult economic times.

I am gainfully employed.

That’s a wonderful thing.

foggy morningThinking back on the last year, I have to remember the friends who held me up when I wanted to fall down under the crush of uncertainty. And the ones who extended a hand without being asked, without quibbling, without question, without a quiver of trepidation.

Friends are a wonderful thing.

My daughters, who blissfully continued being themselves, growing, surprising, intelligent, and HEALTHY.

Health and happiness are wonderful things.

My mother, who has been revealing more of herself lately. For all the little things I didn’t know (but do now!), I am grateful.

My husband, who actually knows the meaning of an oath, but tests my ability to hold on to mine more often than I’d like. With him, though I am certainly not learning patience, I am certainly learning the value of someone you can share the load of responsibilities with. For all my kvetching and my frustrations, echoes of which are heard in most households on a daily basis and can be summed up in one word punctutated by an exclamation mark: “MEN!”; despite all that, I have no idea what I would do without him.

This has been a year for doubts.

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt. ~ Jane Adams

Will you be my Valentine?Yet my faith in the human potential for comfort, warmth, compassion and helpfulness has been maintained, constantly reinforced despite the various “uglinesses” in the world: Rwanda, Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea… death threats on a President-elect just because of the color of his skin. Greedy CEOs, unscrupulous lenders, criminal leaders. It’s been an ugly year.

For all those people in my life who have helped shine a warm beacon of light in my life, I give thanks.

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” ~Albert Schweitzer

What are you thankful for?
Cats - Hugging

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