Another thanksgiving is upon us. It seems in recent years that we are cycling through holidays at breakneck speed, never being able enjoy any one particular holiday because the next holiday is already up in stores or being advertised on the Internet. This saddens me, especially at thanksgiving time, since we often times neglect the spirit of giving thanks for the rush of acquiring more crap on the morning after.
Being thankful is something I’ve tried to teach my kids for a while now. It’s also something I’ve tried to live my life by as well, although I am nowhere near perfect at it so inevitably I overlook something I should be thankful for, usually in favor of being cranky about something else. This past 12 months it has been way easier to count my curses than it has been to count my blessings. But I’ve had a quiet last few weeks, time that I’ve been able to spend thinking about my life and the many blessings that surround me daily.
While the past year has been challenging, the blessings in my life have shown themselves to me clearly. Among these blessings are the tangibles and the intangibles, the valuable and the invaluable. Although I’m sure I’m forgetting many, it would be silly of me not to at least try to address the more prominent blessings in my life.
- My kids – My children have been the greatest blessing to me and continue to be. Not a day goes by that I am not totally and completely amazed by them in some way. Whether it be their creative outward expressions or their tender, sincere, loving hearts toward me and their siblings, I’m reminded everyday of just how powerful a blessing my children are.
- My family – My family has shown me this past year just what love is and to just what lengths they will go in order to care for me and my kids. When I say “my family” I am most definitely talking about my blood family (my brother, my sister, my cousins, my nieces and my nephews). But I am also talking about my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, my sisters-in-law and my brothers-in-law. My entire family seemed to rally around my immediate family this year and even through the hardest of times have stayed by my side.
- My friends – I’d like to think that everyone has friends. And although I have a crapload of friends on Facebook and Twitter, I can count the number of close friends I have on one hand. But this year my closest friends really showed themselves. They came out of the woodwork to encourage me, make me laugh and generally just have my back. I don’t know where I’d be on this thanksgiving if not for my friends reaching out to me, talking to me and listening to me. You know who you are. I just hope you know how thankful I am for you.
- My possessions – I know that stuff is just stuff, but I count among my stuff the basic necessities of life: a house, a car, electricity, running water, etc. Yes, I also include toys and gadgets in my “stuff” (I mean who doesn’t love their phone) but being able to keep my kids warm, fed, clothed and sheltered is a tremendous blessing to me.
- My skills – I love being a nerd. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it. What started out at a hobby for me has blossomed into a career. A well paying, lucrative career. I’m thankful that I’ve been blessed with an inquisitive mind and a passion for learning, and that I can leverage that into a skill set that continues to provide for my children.
- My health – I’ve worked hard to get myself healthy. I’ve worked hard to stay healthy. I’m blessed to say that I don’t need medication everyday just to live and that I can experience life with my children with energy, fervor and passion, never missing a thing with them because “daddy doesn’t feel like it today kids”.
- My struggles – Anyone that knows me knows that I like to push myself to achieve things that I might not be able to achieve under normal circumstances. And most folks that know me know that I’m not one to get smacked on the chin without swinging back. This year has shown this more clearly than any other. The struggles came in droves this year, each one presenting a new challenge, a new problem that needed a new and different way to approach it. To say that this past year was trying would be minimizing what actually took place. Still, through each of the struggles came an equally rewarding victory and a promise of a brighter future. And for that I am immeasurably blessed.
- My failures – If there was one thing I can say I am more blessed by this year than last year it would have to be my realization of my own imperfection and my coming to grips with many of my behaviors, attitudes and actions that have led to failure in many areas of my life. It’s been said that if you want to continue to get the same results of your actions simply keep doing the same thing. I realized this year that I did not want to keep getting the same results in life I’ve always gotten and that in order to change course I had to take a deep look within myself to identify those areas of myself that may have been preventing my own success. That has been painful to say the least, but it has also been an indescribable blessing in that for the first time in my life I’ve come face to face with many of my shortcomings and have been able to begin rectifying them. Change is good, even if it is uncomfortable.
There is so much more that I should be thankful for. But as I sit behind the keys staring at the emptiness of what will soon become the last few lines of this post, I’m reminded that I have a house full of kids that need their daddy’s attention and affection. And that is a blessing I can no longer pass up.
Happy thanksgiving. May this holiday season be a blessing to you and may it open you up to be a blessing to others.