Thursday, November 25, 2010

Spirit of Thankfulness

At the beginning of the year, this blog had more than a few purposes. The name of it, "A Year of Reinvention", alluded to my quest to eliminate as much negativity from my attitude as possible. This is obviously a lifelong quest, and a year isn't going to do much.

But it's done something.

My tendency has always been to expect the worst, because then I'll be pleasantly surprised if something good happens. My tendency has been to focus on the negative because it's easier -- there's so much of it -- and then when something positive happens, it'll feel exponentially greater because of all the negative I've surrounded myself with. My tendency has been to spout off about anything and everything that's bothering me, to the people around me, in my prayers, to the newspaper if someone really upsets me to the point I feel I need a public forum, and on my blog. I've done that this year.

Here's the difference:

The ability of this negativity to permeate who I am has been lessened. Those of you who know me best and are around me everyday, or close to it, might not notice a difference. You might still see me as someone who likes to hear herself talk, or might still listen to my rants while rolling your eyes behind my back. And that's fine. But I know the difference inside.

There's a song that I hear inside my head sometimes that I never heard before. Brandon Heath has a special way of describing emotion in songs and then putting a hook in there to make it spin around in your head all day long. The rest of the song is fantastic, but this is the part that plays and plays:

"Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me you heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see"

I am beginning to see things I never did before. I'm beginning to put things into perspective. At 33 years of age, I'm beginning to change my focus. I still dislike many things, I still get angered by situations and by people, I still fail miserably on a daily basis. But I'm beginning to feel more whole than I ever have by grasping onto a small spirit of thankfulness somewhere deep inside. I'm realizing that if I nurture that seed instead of quashing it at every given opportunity, not only will it change my life but it will change the lives of the others around me.

Today, I am thankful for all the basics: food on my table, friends and family, shelter, and the like. It's easy to be thankful for the good things in life. But I have to dig deeper. I have to find that seed, that spirit of thankfulness inside and let it overwhelm me. I need to let it take me over. This is just the beginning of the quest.

I am THANKFUL that it's been over six years of trying and I'm still not pregnant. This has taught me to be persistent, to give up control over the things I had no control over to begin with. It has brought comfort and love from friends and family that I never knew really cared. It has taught me to rely on God and not my own understanding. During the course of the six years, God has brought all three of our other kids to live with us and given us a strong bond. I'm less selfish than I once was, in part because of this (though everyone remains selfish to a point... I'm still working on that!) I've learned to sacrifice, and given these kids all of my attention that I might not have been able to if I'd had a baby at the same time. And if/when I do give birth, someday that child will hear the story of how very much his/her father and I really, really wanted to have a baby.

I am THANKFUL that I am in Middlebury, Indiana. It's true I despise the weather, the smell of horse manure, the lack of job opportunities, and I probably mentioned the weather but I'll do it again. However, as much as I've been yearning all this time to get out into the world, be in a big city, and "start real life" (haha!) I'm smack in the middle of real life and I finally realize it. I'm close to my family and many friends, my kids are thriving in a safe, good school. I can have our dogs roaming the backyard instead of walking them down cement sidewalks and leaving them in a one-bedroom apartment all day. This is a good place to live, and I'll be here as long as God wants me to be.

I am THANKFUL that I'm not a best-selling author. As much as I dream of it, if it ever happens, there would be pressures that I have not yet imagined. Writing for newspapers, online websites, blogging, and e-publishing have taught and will continue to teach me humility, will hone my writing, and will show me who my true friends are. They're the ones who read what I write whether they like it or not, and offer criticism that will help me to become the writer I am truly meant to be.

The trick is to take something in my life that irritates me, and start thinking around it from every angle. I need to take the negatives and surround them with positives. I need to let the seed inside of me grow until it can't help but burst out of its container and show the beauty that was once held in a tiny, nearly microscopic hidden entity called


Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I hope you let your seed grow, too.



  1. You're learning something that I've also been taking a lifetime to learn: ACCEPTANCE. Tolerance, thankfulness, hope, and more all spring from acceptance... and the Serenity Prayer has been the key to unlocking my journey to acceptance:

    Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
    The courage to change the things I can;
    And the wisdom to know the difference.

    Happy Thanksgiving, DeLuxe...