The last couple of weeks leading up to Thanksgiving this year have seemed like a series of unfortunate events. Between emergency vet visits, a broken transmission, a trip to the urgent care, a cold virus that has lived in our house for a month and won’t go away, keys locked in the car and a schedule that took over my life, there were days where I just didn’t want to get out of bed because I wasn’t sure what was going to hit me in the face next.
Needless to say, I’ve been struggling to really feel thankful. Sure, I could tell myself to be thankful for what hadn’t gone wrong, but that’s not really the point of Thanksgiving, right?
So at dinner last night, after the unfortunate key incident, I was feeling a bit discouraged. Even though my husband was able to get the door unlocked fairly quickly, I was stewing about what these last two weeks had dumped on us.
That’s when my kids stepped in.
It started when Layla asked if she could say the prayer before dinner.
Layla: “Dear God, thank you for this meal. Thank you for always providing the answers to our problems.”
Wow. What a reminder. Yes, we had problems. Some significant and some fairly trivial, but God had consistently provided an answer. Maybe it wasn’t the answer I was expecting or hoping for, but it was still an answer. Even though unbudgeted, unexpected expenses kept popping up, God still provided what we needed to pay for them or work around them and still keep food on the table.
During the meal, Sydney chimed in.
Sydney: “After dinner, I think we should write down all of our blessings. We should write down all the things we’re thankful for.”
Sometimes my kids are so smart. Instead of focusing on the setbacks and stress and worries, they were telling me to focus on the blessings. Now I’ve heard (and probably told others) about doing this before, but sometimes it’s hard to see the blessings when you’re in the midst of discouragement. However, when your seven year old looks you in the face and says, “Mom, we have lots of blessings. Let’s write them all down and put them somewhere we can see it,” how can you not do what she asks?
So we did. I passed out some post-its and pens and told the girls to write down their blessings. Then we put them on the mirror in our dining room. We’ll be able to see them when we walk through to the living room from the kitchen. We’ll be able to see them when we gather around for breakfast. We’ll be able to see them as we clean-up for company. We’ll be able to see them during Thanksgiving dinner.
My kids reminded me last night of something I already knew but really needed to hear right then. What I dwell on are the things that fill my heart and mind. What I stew and brood and think about are the things that influence my feelings and outlook and actions. Do I want to fill my mind with worries and setbacks? Or do I want to fill it with my blessings – with gratitude and thanksgiving and joy for the things in this life that matter more than cold viruses and doctor’s visits and locked doors.