Last year on Facebook, I wrote something I was grateful for every day for the whole month of November. It was a great thing to do; it opened up my heart and prepared me so well to have a really meaningful and spiritual Christmas season. This year I am pleased to see many friends doing the same thing.
But I haven't been doing it. I don't know if this is a mistake or not. I won't lie to you, the month started out with me struggling to just keep my head above water emotionally and although I still was and still am grateful for the many good things in my life, I didn't really feel like I had the energy to summon up the personal graciousness to declare it every day. I was also having trouble with other people's declarations of "I'm so blessed" and "I'm so grateful," because sometimes it seems like bragging. I've griped about that some, which I know has flummoxed some friends. I know that might not seem like the most mature way to handle a tough spot in your life. But we feel what we feel, and we do what we need to do to get through.
As long as in the meantime we are doing the work we need to do to make life a little better, I think that's ok. Sometimes that just means hanging on until the day looks brighter. Sometimes it means digging deep in your relationships and your approaches to life's problems until you find something you can change. Probably most often it's a little of both.
And that's what's coloring my view of gratitude and grace and graciousness and greatness this Thanksgiving season. I am grateful for forgiveness of my failures to be gentle and kind and understanding when what was really needed from me was so much more than what I gave. I am grateful for the chance to catch up when I have fallen behind. I am grateful for reminders about what's really important. I'm grateful for people who are willing to turn over the rocks and clean out what's underneath with me, and for those who see a need and quietly fill it. I'm grateful for the chances to immerse myself in music or work or exercise or worship during the whole process to allow my mind and heart a little bit of rest. I'm grateful for how words comfort. I'm grateful for how time heals. I'm grateful for blessings I don't deserve.
Life is never going to be all fixed and perfect, that's my conclusion. But there really is an awful lot to thank God for along the way.