“Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.” ― A.W. Tozer
When I woke up this morning, there was no turkey to be stuffed, no potatoes waiting to be mashed, or no preparation of my signature sweet potato casserole. My Thanksgiving holiday would be different from the rest. Instead of surrounding myself in company, today was spent in solitude.
It has been nearly four years since my divorce. Adjustments to co-parenting schedules during the holidays can be a challenge. Not so much from a logistical standpoint, but rather an emotional place. It does not feel the same. Past traditions fall away, while new traditions are born.
Taking full advantage of this peaceful time, I chose to spend the day in silence and self-reflection, and to think about what I am thankful for. For several weeks, life has thrown some major curve balls. There were moments that I was unsure I could endure such challenges. My sole intent, for Thanksgiving this year, was to give thanks for the past, present, and unrealized blessings in my life.
Don’t let me fool you into believing that I am enlightened/Ghandi-ish/Oprah-esque/Buddha-like all the time. Practicing gratitude has been deeply rooted in my belief system for several years now. However, I am human and I am flawed. Sometimes we forget. So many of us have lost sight of this and it takes one day out of the year to remind us of the gift of being thankful.
Lately, I have struggled with understanding God’s will in my life. Why was my family broken? Why do others who seem so undeserving of love, find it so easily? Why does it feel like I will never find a good and loving man? Why do I always feel like I am treading water? Why do I have to be so far from my family on the mainland? Why am I still in Hawaii? What will my future hold for me? What does God want from me? What is God trying to teach me? Why? Why? Why? When my thoughts begin to consume me, I lace up my running shoes and head towards the beach. As my pace quickened, questions swirled in my head, and bitter/sweet tears fell down my face.
Instinctively, I am reminded of one of my all time favorite characters, Morrie Schwartz from “Tuesdays with Morrie”. In one particular chapter, the dying college professor addresses those moments when he feels sorry for himself. “There are some mornings when I cry and cry and mourn for myself. Some mornings, I’m so angry and bitter. But it doesn’t last too long. Then I get up and say, ‘I want to live . . .’” I share the same sentiments with Morrie.
Although, I do not understand what God’s will is for me, I am thankful that he does have a beautiful plan for me. I am thankful for all that God has blessed with me in my life. I am thankful for the wonderful people he has brought into my life. I am thankful for the disappointments that were blessings in disguise. I am thankful for the hope, faith, strength, and determination he bestowed on me. I am even more thankful and excited about the unseen blessing that are currently working in my life or are on their way. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all things acknowledge him, and he shall direct your way. [Proverbs 3:5, 6]”No longer will I worry what God’s will is for me. I am simply thankful that it exists. It is all I will ever need. Every evening, I write in my journal 10 things I am grateful for today. I also make special note of why I am thankful. I end each gratitude with “thank you, thank you, thank you.” Even on the darkest of days, I continue to praise God for all his blessings. What are you thankful for? Are you committed to practicing your gratitude daily?
1. I am thankful for my co-worker and dear friend, Charity, watching chick flicks with me this evening. I feel like I have found a soul sister. She is great to fellowship or act completely ridiculous with. She also surprised me with flowers when I had a hard week.
2. I am thankful for my leftover Chinese food from yesterday. I love me some Char Siu and shrimp fried rice. Nom. Nom. Nom. It is almost 2 am and I am about to grind on some.
3. I am thankful for my son’s father. Despite our personal differences, he is a great father to my son.
4. I am thankful for my friend Janelle. This week she surprised me with the kindest hand written card in my mailbox. I was so thankful and it was perfect timing.
5. I am thankful for Patricia. She is incredibly generous and has an amazing heart! I really loved our heart to heart talk in the car ride home yesterday.
6. I am thankful for being presented with an opportunity to start over.
7. I am thankful I had time to clean the house. It brings me peace of mind. When you are juggling a career, mommy hood, school, volunteering, and running a household, chores sometimes takes a back seat.
8. I am thankful for romantic movies. Gives me hope that there is still love out there to be found.
9. I am thankful for all the donations and volunteer support for Peter’s Prom.
10. I am so very thankful for Google Plus video chats with my sister in Florida. I miss my family so much! I am happy to know that we can still keep in touch and see each other’s faces.