I’m tired. I’m hungry. There’s nothing to eat in this house. It’s freezing in here. Is it 5:00 yet? The people in NYC are too mean, too slow, constantly in my way! My commute sucked this morning. This is the quiet car! The baby was a handful today. The baby got me sick again. I’m exhausted!…….
These are all common refrains in my life. I am a complainer by nature. I always have been. But when all is said and done, looking at my life, I am acutely aware of that fact that I am extraordinarily lucky. I have so much to be thankful for, although I sometimes let life’s frustrations get in the way of appreciating it all. These days, when too many people go without, I think it’s vitally important to stop and look around once in a while, and appreciate the things we have.
I am extremely lucky. Not only do I have a job, but a job that I actually love! How many people are without work these days, without a paycheck to support their families? I get to do work everyday that actually supports a cause near and dear to my heart. How lucky am I?
I have food to eat every day. Never has there been a time in my life when I was hungry because I could not afford to buy food. I have food to feed my child. As I struggled to produce enough milk to sustain him after going back to work, I was lucky enough to be able to afford a high-quality, organic formula to help him grow healthy and strong. I tried to remind myself of that every time I felt inadequate for not being able to produce enough for him.
My family and I have clothes to keep us warm. We have friends and family who have given us tons of hand-me-downs for our son, and we try to pay it forward whenever we can.
When it comes down to it, we do not go without. We have a roof over our heads, heat to keep us warm, and a car to get us to work (or a monthly train pass in my case).
More importantly, I have a family, both immediate and extended, that is there for me whenever I need them. I have a network of friends that cannot be rivaled. They have been there for me through thick and thin, as I have been for them.
I have the love and support of an incredible, thoughtful, and healthy husband. I saw a video online the other day made by a husband for his wife’s birthday. Her birthday came two weeks after her husband died of cancer. The video was touching, but all I kept thinking was that I wished he had spoken, rather than holding up signs with words on them, so that she could hear his voice whenever she wanted to. I hugged my husband a little tighter that night.
Like many of us, I have friends or acquaintances who have had to deal with the unthinkable…a terminal (or potentially terminal) illness of a child. I am so overcome with emotion at the mere thought of this that I have to shut down the thoughts immediately when they enter my mind. I am so very blessed to have a healthy, vibrant child, and I do not take it for granted for a single second. I am afraid to even write those words for fear that it may change without warning.
I have always loved the expression “My cup runneth over.” It could not be more true. As an effort to give voice to my gratitude for all that I have in life, I will be making a $25 donation to a different charity each month this year. It’s not much, but to those receiving assistance from the charities, it could mean the world.
Take a look around. What do you have to be thankful for, and what are you doing to express your gratitude?