The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
The first holiday in the domino row of the season is just a few days away and while Mother Nature appears to be playing games with our hearts over what season is actually ‘in,’ for all intents and purposes, the holidays are here.
Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday because it’s so much work only to have to clean up dishes when it’s all said and done. It’s a sprint, as opposed to the marathon of Christmas, which entails cookies and delicious treats for an entire month, great music, sparkly decorations, glitter, and cheerful people. Champagne isn’t as common on Thanksgiving as it is on New Years, which summarizes fully while it ranks at the bottom of the list of the 3 winter holidays.
But whether you love or loathe Thanksgiving, it is also the start of the introspective part of the year. People start reflecting on what the good, the bad, and the ugly of the last 11 months and joke about how much better next year will be when it gets here. For that, I find it tolerable. I like the analysis and I appreciate the ‘it will be better’ mantra shift away from ‘we just have to finish out this year.’ In order to know what we want next, per se, we have to take inventory of what we already have and what we find to be missing.
I look at Thanksgiving as the speed bump that slows us down enough to acknowledge thankfulness, appreciation, joy, and goodness. It’s the first hurdle in the season that redirects our focus.
All of you people who say, (and I say write this while echoing in my very best Mariah Carey voice), “Happy Thanksgiving – I’m thankful EVERY day of the year, not just on holidays,” congrats to you on your perfectly focused life.
The rest of us down here on Honest Island admit that we get caught up in the day-to-day of life, forget to be thankful, sometimes feel sorry for ourselves, want, desire, envy, and all the other sins normal humans commit. The rest of us take heed to the reason for the holiday season as a whole and get grounded once again.
So, the thankfulness.
Yes, we have so much to be thankful for. Yes, we are all so privileged and blessed. Yes, we have people who love us. Yes, we live in the greatest country on earth with so much opportunity. These are the low hanging fruits for which we are able to claim thankfulness. But there’s more to it than that.
Truly being thankful means more than just acknowledging the good around you. Being thankful is understanding that thankfulness requires action, not acceptance, and a desire to something with the blessings that are bestowed upon you. How can put blessings back into others in your life…and even those who aren’t.
The basics of returning thanks and blessings are a given. Charity, donations, open doors, etc. They are do good, make for a better world tasks, and without a doubt bring joy to the recipient of said blessings. But what about the goodness of someone’s soul? How do we transcend the goodness of our blessings to someone else so they are really moved by it?
I don’t know and it’s still something I’m grappling with myself. But some ideas I have pondered:
If you’re thankful for a loving family who lends a listening ear when you need it because you understand the value of it and what it offers in a time of sorrow or joy. To whom can you offer a listening ear?
In your thankfulness of your job (and ability to have one), ponder how you can not just help someone get back on their feet, but also how to mirror your work ethic, your zeal, and your passion for doing something you love.
If you’re giving thanks for your bountiful health that we all so often take for granted, for whom can you pray to see that same blessing.
In essence, consider how to add depth to your thankfulness and your sharing of blessings. People tell me all the time that they can tell when I’m writing about something I’m passionate about versus something I’m just writing about to fill the space. People can tell when we’re going through the motions or just doing something because we need to do it. This is the same thing. Give your blessings a story to follow – show those around you how your blessings inspired you to be better for yourself and for others.
Giving thanks is only half the task. Cycling our own blessings into blessings for others – and with purpose – is the truest blessing and what this season of thankfulness is all about.