Thanksgiving often gets pushed aside by stores. Right before or after Halloween the Christmas decorations go up. It’s hard to find Thanksgiving decorations to buy and no store ever puts them up. It’s pushed aside by wrapping paper, Christmas cards, Santa Clause, and shopping for the best gifts. Even the commercials and television shows display Christmas. Thanksgiving is also very important. We have a lot in our lives to be thankful for even when we can’t see it. It’s a season to be thankful for the bounties God gives us.
This year my sister invited my husband, parents, and me over for dinner. My niece, her daughter and her boyfriend, plus my nephew were all there. Of course my sister and her hubby, too. There were nine of us. The table was filled with endless dishes of food. My dad said the prayer and my mom suggested we go around the table and say what we were thankful for. I sat there listening to each person speak. Then it came my turn. I said I was thankful for my hubby and family, but my mind silently said something else. I didn’t want to give a long speech.
I’m thankful that I’m a year cancer free and that this Thanksgiving I’m not recovery from surgery. I’m thankful for all the friends and family members who stuck at my side last year and are still at my side. I’m thankful that I made it almost to the end of the year without any surgeries or any major health problems. I’m thankful I’m alive to spend another Thanksgiving with family. I’m thankful my cancer was caught early and I’m a survivor. I’m thankful I’m still in recovery from mental illness and even though I went through some really rough times, I’m still standing tall above the hole.
If I had said all this, when it was my turn, my family would have been drooling from starvation. Instead I said my thank you to God. For the last three years things have not been easy. In 2018 I had a detached tendon in my ankle reconstructed, I was in the emergency room four times, and I had to have a scope done. In 2019 I had breast cancer and found out I had the BRCA gene. I had a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy within three months. Then this year started with the death of my husband’s aunt, who also meant a lot to me, then the death of my grandma in September. I also had a flare up of my plantar fasciitis and I was in a boot for a month and half.
A lot of bad stuff has happened to me over a three year span and I could dwell on it and get really sad or I could be thankful for the good things. No matter what I’ve been through, I have had a wonderful husband taking care of me and supporting me. I also have had some wonderful friends who supported me with a shoulder to cry on, meals, gifts, visits, and so on. I have a dog that through it all snuggles up to me and while I was recovering from surgery wouldn’t leave my side. Then there is my family who has also supported me in many ways. I’m thankful for all this.
Because of everything I have been through, I have fallen down that hole of depression, but I was strong enough to pull myself up. I could have easily fallen back down to the bottom of that hole again and just stayed there. I could have given up. It would have been the easy thing to do. I have asked God if I were being punished and I got angry at times, but I didn’t let my mental illness take over, especially when I got breast cancer.
I have had plenty of reasons to not be thankful. I have had plenty of reasons to quit fighting. I’ve gone through stages of anger, grief, and self-pity, but I kept going. No matter how bad things have gotten, I still had plenty to be thankful for. Even the death of my grandma brought something good into my life: I reconnected with two of my cousins I had lost contact with.
No matter how bad my life seemed, there was always something good to be thankful for. Such as church ladies who brought me lunch and let my dog out, my parents who brought us meals and visited, friends who visited, a friend who set up a program for people to bring us meals, cards in the mail, gift cards in the mail, a friend doing my dishes, my husband always taking care of me, and much more.
This Thanksgiving I gave my great-niece kisses, talked and laughed with family, and ate delicious homemade food with a heart full of thanks. I’m very thankful despite all I’ve been through. No matter how bad things got, good things still happened.
Thanksgiving may be over, but it’s not too late to be thankful. Everything in your life may seem like it’s falling apart and yet among the sadness is good. No matter how depressed you are, even if you are very sick, you’re going through divorce, if your children broke your heart, or anything else going on in your life, there is something to be thankful for. There is good going on in the midst of darkness and tragedy. It may be difficult to see, but if you really look you’ll find it. Get a piece of paper or a journal and write at the top of the paper, “I’m thankful for…”. Then below it list the good things that happen in your life. You may find you have a lot to be thankful for. So what are you waiting for? Get to writing.
Because no matter how bad things got in my life, I was able to find things to be thankful for, so I am standing above the hole in the light of happiness.