Thanksgiving. This is my all-time favorite holiday. It’s something about spending time with family and friends, over a good meal, laughing and sharing the moment with gratitude. I like the fact that, at least in my family, the focus is on relationship and thankfulness. I’m grateful for an opportunity to reflect on all that I have and all that I have accomplished and to share those memories and accomplishments with the ones who love me most.
However, I am aware that not everyone feels this way. There are so many people who have lost family members, who have experienced tragedy, who are alone, homeless, jobless and have difficulty finding a moment to celebrate or people to celebrate with them. I’d like to take some time to talk to you, specifically. While I respect your present circumstance, I’d like you to take some time to consider a few things:
1. You are alive. Being alive might not be something you feel like celebrating; but there are some people who wish they could get a second chance at life. You still have an opportunity to live life with every bit of gusto that you have. You have an opportunity, from this day forward, to live intentionally and with little regret.
2. You are a survivor. Life, with all its bumps and bruises, could not beat you. You have been through hell; yet here you are, still standing. Maybe you don’t stand as straight. Maybe you are wounded. Maybe you are scarred. But you are not counted out. You exist. You matter. You can live to fight another day.
3. You can teach. Because of what you’ve been through, you have something that you can teach others. You have gained wisdom, insight and understanding that is specific. This wisdom would not be if it wasn’t for your difficulty. Now, you can can teach someone else how to survive. You can teach someone else how to avoid the pitfalls you may have fell into. You have something to share. You have insight to give. You are worth much. There is not a book of facts that could replace your life experience. You are a wealth of knowledge.
I understand that you reading these words alone isn’t a miracle pill. I understand that you still have to process what I’ve written. I urge you to do so. I have lived without gratitude. I have lived a life of sadness. I was once lost in my grief. But I made it through. It’s took time. It took mistakes. It literally took tears; but I made it. My hope is that you, too, would make it.
My hope is that one day you will realize just how valuable you are and that you will make a choice to be thankful. I hope that you can be thankful for every pain and every difficulty. My wish for you is that you will be thankful for all the times you had to fight because it made you strong. I hope that you will be thankful for your lonely days because it taught you how to survive without encouragement. You have everything you need inside of you to keep going. What you lost was great. But you have the opportunity to gain so much more. I hope that during this Holiday season you will be thankful for you. You deserve a holiday. You deserve to be celebrated. You matter because you are a living, human being. Because you are God’s creation. Because I said so. *winked eye*