IN GOOD HEALTH: Finding Thankfulness

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I get that. I hear you. I am you.

Call it post-surgical depression, or call it the holiday blues, I’m feeling it. Some describe it as that dreaded sensation that comes around this time of year. I miss my parents (may their memory be a blessing), I miss a family member (estrangement is a horrible thing), and I will miss my family/extended family (staying home due to the pandemic). Call it what you want, but the end result is the same. I’m searching for thankfulness in a world that doesn’t appear to have anything to give me right now.

Or does it?

I woke up in the middle of the night, trying to decide if I was awake or still sleepy, and my mind started to wander. Can I be thankful when I don’t feel like it? Can I be thankful even though I’m sad, angry, or unsettled? What does it take to make one feel thankful…fulfilled…content?

In reviewing my priorities, I found a way to come through to the other side, and I’m hoping in some small way by sharing what I found to be true, that it may also be true for some of you. I hope so, because suffering stinks. Nobody wants to suffer emotionally. Especially over the holidays when others are so bright and cheery…or at least pretending to be?

If you dig, and I mean dig deep, there is always something to be thankful for, right? That’s a given. Food in my belly, rain on the roof, my dog nudging me to pet his fuzzy chest…all these things bring me joy and I’m so very thankful. But what I realized I needed to be thankful for, was just that which felt awful. That which led me to believe I couldn’t be thankful at all.

I’m thankful for my parents passing, because it means they lived. It means I was graced with a Leave It To Beaver upbringing and a treasure trove of memories that nobody can take away from me.

I’m thankful for this time away from my family member because it means there’s still a chance for reconciliation. We are both still alive, and with that, comes hope.

I’m thankful that my dinner table will be smaller this year because it will give me more time to spend bonding with those that I may see every day, but don’t break bread with. It gives me a year off from cooking for 22 people while my shoulder recovers from surgery, and while they will all be missed, I know they, too, will be bonding with those they live with and love.

I’m thankful for the chronic pain I experience, because it means that my body is still trying to heal, still trying to function, yet reminding me of my injuries so that I know when to rest. Pain is a gift for those who are stubborn like me, and want to just “keep going” no matter what.

I’m thankful for that which I find to be horrifying to me, because it means I still have a conscience, morals, and integrity.

We are all sent here to complete a life mission that nobody else on this planet can complete. Just us. We are as rare as the largest diamond, emerald, or ruby in existence. Our lives will never be perfect. Sometimes we teach, sometimes we learn. Sometimes we hurt and sometimes we aren’t safe. There is no such thing as perfect safety. However, we, each one of us, are so unique that to take us out of the equation of life would mean to pull from the core of humanity that which is necessary and good. We would be oh, so missed, and the things that we never did would be done, never to be completed.

We matter. I matter. You matter.

Before our most recent halt to indoor dining in Oregon, my husband and I were eating at a local restaurant, and our waiter looked at me and said, “I know you…I read you every Wednesday…I feel like I know you…like we’re friends“. What an amazing thing to say to me. There truly is no greater honor than to be called a friend. I love coming into your homes every Wednesday to have our little chats.

Be well this holiday, my friends, and never forget how very special you are. And THAT is something that I’m definitely thankful for. You. Each one of you.

Until next time, take care of yourself and each other. I’ll see you on the flip side…