I’m so stressed. I have a lot going on right now. There are scary things about life: How can I pay these bills. I feel terrible, but I can’t take a sick day. I’ve got grades to put in, projects to finish, phone calls to make, meetings to have. I need groceries but I have to clean the house first. I need gas, but the gas station is so far away. I’ll do it tomorrow. There’s questions of belonging. There’s anxiety. There’s depression. There’s personal matters. And there is vulnerability.
Most of these things I have been dealing with over the past few weeks. This seems to happen a lot this time of year. It’s getting cold, school is busy and crazy at this point, most jobs are trying to finish certain things by the end of the year… And even for what is supposed to be the happiest time, people let themselves get stressed and stupid over the holiday season.
We forget to stop, we forget to breathe. We look at all our bad, and we are overwhelmed. We scream, we cry, we snap at those we love. We sleep, a lot or maybe not enough. We are quick to talk about that stressful thing, or this stressful thing. We are filled with stories of all the negative and we love to tell them. We wallow.
“How are you doing?”
Well, here’s my chance.
It’s so hard to be thankful when everything is going wrong.
Everyone says Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday. I think this is partly due to the consumer culture that surrounds Christmas festivities, but I also think maybe it’s because humans are scared to be thankful. We are scared to stop and look at the good. We fear if we don’t acknowledge the bad, we will get hurt or we will be weak, naive. We want people to know about our pain. We want them to feel sorry, we want the attention, we crave the empathy.
If I stop and think about it, I am thankful. I have the most loving, close family someone could ask for. I have a husband who loves me. And embraces that warm me. I have a sufficient place to live. A puppy that brightens every single mood. I have students that make me laugh. I have strong people to look up to who help me along. I have people who believe in me. I have a God who loves me and a Savior who fights for me. I have a faith to believe in. I have all the random, nameless people in the world who I get to interact with and who make me smile.
So why don’t I say it? Why don’t I make that the focus of my day? Why do I let myself get so overwhelmed? I wasn’t always like this, so what happened?
The world is ugly, and things pile up. As you grow you see the ugliness manifest in a million different ways, the sparkly veil comes tearing down. But we can still be thankful. We don’t have to focus on this world. He has overcome it, and He is waiting for us in a much better place. Let’s do it. Let’s try and be active about acknowledging our blessings. Let’s throw back to all those old pilgrims and give thanks for what we have.
Because it’s pretty great.