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What are people usually thankful for during this hopefully more conscious season of spiritual holidays? Family is often first. Friends come second. Freedom from want (as in enough to eat, shelter, and necessities) comes next. Some people have to think about safety, as well. And, if we’re very fortunate, we celebrate a peaceful, prosperous present that provides opportunities for each of us to find personal fulfillment in the future.
Gratitude shouldn’t be based on quantity, but this is the first year in which I’m conscious of having less to be thankful for than I had last year. I lost a beloved family member and a dear friend this year—both having been taken while still young. I also lost my confidence in our family’s ability to look forward to a peaceful, prosperous new year. On the positive side, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, my husband and I didn’t blow up in our car. I didn’t die of a heart blockage. And our house didn’t burn down.
Being thankful for the gifts that we take for granted is difficult. Only a terrible cold can remind us to be glad for being able to take clear breaths in the morning. Break a leg, and you’re soon nostalgic for better movement. Get stuck in a traffic jam on the highway or in a holding pattern in an airliner that doesn’t offer snacks and suddenly a drink and munchies sound fabulous.
We take so much for granted. This year, I’m realizing that the things we cherish most are things we must earn. Even maintaining a family that’s healthy in mind and body takes effort. So, ultimately, we need to be thankful that we’re strong enough, smart enough, loving enough, and resourceful enough to manifest the lives we want—even if we actually achieve what we need and not always what we want. Our divine gift from God is ourselves. We’re supposed to take it from here.