Thanksgiving is coming up and of course this is the time of year when we all look around and find things to be Thankful and Grateful for. Now, sometimes it’s hard to be thankful because things are, well, hard. Sometimes it’s hard to be thankful because they are..good. Doesn’t seem like it should make sense but it does. In the past months I have been inspired by several blog posts I've read which were done so much more articulately and succinctly than I can manage but please bear with me as I try to make my point in 2000 words or more, as usual, while others can do it in 500 or less : ).
You see, I do appreciate and give thanks for my blessings. I also feel guilty for them. Because things are bad. In a lot of ways and a lot of places. And part two, which I’ve mentioned here before, is that I often have trouble enjoying the good that comes in my life because of,
BUT-what happens next?
Because I have had bad times. I have had my ass kicked. And I know it can happen again.
And I don't like that.
Let’s take a detour for a minute to talk about faith. I have faith. I have absolute faith in God and am also absolutely certain that faith has nothing to do with preventing bad circumstances. If I am blessed it is by Grace not because I deserve it or have been singled out. I feel it is not so much given as allowed. The same goes for difficulty and strife. It is not what we are given. Faith is maintaining love and belief throughout it. So faith, is what it is. It doesn’t rely on anything else. We have it regardless. Otherwise what would be the point? If everything was perfect imagine what self involved shallow creatures human beings would be. We already are. Without some empathy and the circumstances to feel it we would be insufferable.
Now here is a fact. We, as a family, have had a very good year. No huge disasters. We are even financially stronger than we have been in some time. I feel guilty. I felt guilty the other day when I was on a job location and a janitor came very close to me and quietly asked if we were hiring. He quickly slipped in that he used to do the same type of work we do for a very large company. And I had to say no. He said it kind of sucks having to be a janitor after being what he was before. He’s right. I felt really bad about it. But we are a small company. We can’t afford more employees. And the reason we are doing well is because we work our asses off. I truly worked my ass of this year. I don’t feel bad for having this blessing. I feel bad that others don’t have it as well. But he did have some work. He had an imperfect way to survive but a way all the same. And I know,
“There, but for the Grace…you know the rest…
There is something else too. I know many bloggers who write about this but I have not.
Since I was a child I have suffered from generalized anxiety that creates a mild form of OCD and cyclical depression that fluctuates approximately on a 2 to 3 year basis. When I was fifteen my parents took me took a psychologist who taught me some basic skills to deal with these problems and they actually helped. I never used medication until my late twenties and have only used them sporadically over the years when absolutely necessary. Most of the time the clues are so small you would never know. Though at some point my children did notice the six dots I make in the condensation on a bottle every time I pour soda and my husband occasionally will ask, “why are you clicking, what’s wrong?”
Now I am the one in my family who holds everyone else together. I reassure and calm. I keep the faith. When things seem to be falling apart I’m the one chasing them around with a needle and thread saying, it will be fine, it will work out in the end.”
The strangest part about this is that when things do seem to be going well, that is when I fall apart. Because of the " BUT-what happens next.”
Earlier this year the bigger signs started. The sudden need for organization. The hand washing. The fear of pulling out in intersections, the constantly checking and rechecking my paperwork and still panicking that I missed a mistake. The not wanting to go out. The feeling that just getting through my normal life was an overwhelming ordeal and dealing with the people around me was a crushing weight I couldn't shake off. I ignored it..cause..that's what I do..and then, a couple months ago, the tears. The despair. The knowing that even though everything was fine it will not stay that way and I couldn’t bear the thought of it.
, we had
meltdown. Which leads my family to questions along the line of; “But you always
say…”. I know, I know, but this is genetic and chemical apparently and can’t be
The gist of this is, I had to get back on my medications. The depression seems to be under control. The anxiety is reduced-as long as I don’t think about anything very hard or very long. If I focus on my family and keep my faith I’ll be alright. If I acknowledge the blessings I have been given this year and accept that, yes, I should enjoy them when I can because they are what I have right now and we don’t know the future. BUT-that’s ok. Because my faith teaches me that love is all that is enduring. That life is not always pretty and I may have to get out my needle thread and patch things up again. It teaches me to be thankful for whatever comes my way, no matter how small or inconsequential it may seem. It teaches me that faith is not found in Big and Beautiful and Perfect. Sometimes it is found in imperfection and making do and inferiority. That Life Is Good even when it's not exactly what we would wish for.
This Thanksgiving I am Thankful that I have my family and that we will all be together for the Holidays because there is a good chance that will not happen next year. I have my faith and had some icing on my cake and a doctor to help me remember that. Plus it’s been cold and gray and drizzly all week which puts me in a wonderful mood.
And ‘whatever happens next’ will happen, whether I like it or not. With my imperfect family I will make do with whatever inferior materials life gives me to patch things together. I still have Love and Faith for added strength and It's All Good.
Life will always show us good, even if it's hidden in unlikely places, if we recognize it and accept it for what it is.
I think a text message from my Middlest this week sums it perfectly:
Mid: I just found God and I’m feeling pretty good about it.
Me: Most Awesome. Where was he?
Mid: taco bell
Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving Everyone.
You know what comes next!
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