Clothes pile up in front of my washer. Baskets of clean laundry sit at the end of my unmade bed. My son scratches out letters in the dust on our end tables. Mildew plays “ring around the rosey” in our toilets. The dishwasher is emptied and waits to be filled again by the dishes heaped in the sink.
Stacks of student essays stare at me from my crowded desk. Three tests await creation and lesson plans need to be written. Call parents. Read The Scarlet Letter. Reread Gatsby. And then. Then assessments are failed, and I must rethink. redo. reimagine.
Momma! Momma! Momma! The endless needing. The arguing and bickering of siblings separated six years. Sticky fingers pull the hem of my shirt. What’s for dinner? We’re out of toilet paper. Can you check my homework? And I just want to pee alone. MOM!
Daily life can weigh me down.
The heaviness of day-in and day-out pulls at my soul. Exhaustion etches itself into my bones, and I sometimes wonder if what I do matters. Because at the end of the day I question if this dragged down soul can take one more step.
Then perspective hits me like a blinding wall bringing me to my knees in thanksgiving.
Perspective looks like a momma rocking with empty arms. A homeless student sleeping in her parents’ car. A friend facing terminal illness. Perspective is a slum half-a-world away that left mud caked on my shoes and empty eyes heavy on my heart. A sponsored child who spends half her day walking to provide clean water for her family.
Perspective tells me Thanksgiving should always be first on my lips.
It’s not easy, this grateful heart. There are days I just don’t want to say thanks. I just don’t want to count my blessings. Because I’d rather stay angry or sad or grumpy. Sometimes I want to wallow in muck and mire.
But deep down I know.
I know if I begin to thank, I begin to change.
When I thank, I have no room to whine. When I consider my gifts, my complaints diminish.
Gratefulness reaches down and brings forth Joy. Joy welling, bubbling up. Giving thanks brings the flicker of light to the candle dispelling the black of night. When I am conscious of the beauty in my life, my focus shifts. When I’m focused on my haves, my have nots sink into the distance and contentment rises.
No matter how hard life can be, I can always uncover something deserving of my gratitude. Because there’s always the sun. And the sun always rises, even after the darkest night.
Life is good. Even when it’s tedious. Even when it’s painful. Even when it’s dark. Life is good. Its goodness is unveiled when my heart is grateful.
When I bring Thanksgiving to my soul…