Thanksgiving is officially over and now it’s a full- throttle Christmas mode. But how ‘bout we say goodbye to the Thanksgiving holiday for a year but not the idea of being thankful? Everywhere I looked the past few weeks I saw the quote “There is always, always, something to be thankful for.” If that’s so and if so many people believe that, why is it we celebrate thankfulness only one day a year…a day that is immediately followed by a day when we go on shopping frenzies to buy all those things we think we have to have and things we think might make us happy? Does having more equate to more happiness? Does being happy equate to being thankful? Do things that frustrate us have to make us unhappy? Not always on all counts.
Today I’m thankful my internet was not connecting to the very computer I am writing this on. Yep, you heard right: I’M THANKFUL MY INTERNET WAS OUT. What in the world? Call the troopers and call me crazy but first, let me fill you in.
Our house sitter/dog sitter extraordinaire, John, has been helping us set up a new TV for the past two days. This has involved DirecTV set up, “smart” TV controls (and tutorials!), universal remote formatting, and a few modem resets. Come to discover that those resets wreaked just a bit of havoc on my desktop computer. No worries; house sitter/dog sitter/fabulous TV installer John is also an IT expert. Can I marry this guy now? After a few quick checks and resets, I’m up and running. But, not before learning something very, very important. And a little bit alarming.
While checking my modem and internet connections, John asked if I by chance had another Ethernet cable. First of all, “Ethernet cable” is somewhat akin to Russian to me, but I knew I had a bin of cables and cords that he could go through. In that bin was also an old MacBook battery. This, my friends, was not a good thing. John proceeded to let me know the dangers of said battery (similar but waaaaay bigger than all those phone batteries not allowed on airplanes) and that it already showed clear signs of “inflation,” which could have caught fire, exploded, and basically caused a whole lot of damage. So, as worried as I was about my internet going out, I suddenly considered it a “God wink.” Had the internet not sputtered, the battery would not have been discovered, and who knows what might have happened. As John said, “things always happen for a reason.”
Trials are not usually the places in which we find gratitude. Instead, they try us and they frustrate us. It’s much easier to be grateful when everything is going smooth and life is good. But there will always be challenges and obstacles in our lives, so it’s high time we focus on what we are thankful for year round and even in the midst of trials. There are so many things we can and should be thankful for and they deserve more than just one holiday in November.
As Jimmy Buffet sang, we need to change our attitudes. This is also the philosophy behind a great book titled “FISH!” In the bestseller, a high-stress and non-energetic corporate office team is compared to the fishmongers in Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market. They may not have the most sought after jobs, but they are famously happy and thankful for their place of work. It’s a philosophy filled with lessons of being grateful and joyful.
An attitude of gratitude should be our goal and it starts with both the head and the heart. If you think you are blessed, you’ll likely feel blessed. If you love more than you long, you’ll feel loved. If you fill your life with things and people the build you up rather than tear you down, you’ll feel positive and thankful. Maybe instead of trying to “keep up with the Joneses” you might ask yourself if the life you are living is a life you would want someone else to have. Chances are your life is pretty darn good on many levels so being thankful for it is Plan A. Plan B is to make “thanksgiving” a reason to celebrate 12 months a year; not just one day a year.
So before you go out, stress out, and max out your credit card on holiday shopping and entertaining, sit back and be thankful…truly thankful. Be thankful you have a job even if it’s not your dream job. Be grateful you have a place to live even if it’s not your dream house. Be appreciative that you have a car rather instead of complaining about traffic. And always remember that so many out there have less than you but could very well be more grateful and happy than you.
And if you have a John in your life, be sure to be thankful for him too.