Archive | November, 2014

The Thanksgiving Eve Blues

26 Nov

The Thanksgiving Eve Blues.

The Thanksgiving Eve Blues

26 Nov

I am struggling on this Thanksgiving Eve and rather than take to the air waves as I have been for the past several months, I felt that sharing my thoughts in print was a better way to proceed today. I have a thousand reasons why I’m struggling. My daily routines have been pretty non-existent since we got back from a five day trip to Florida to watch our children in marching band perform at Disney World. My children are each having their own struggles that always tug at a mother’s heart. We are having some financial struggles. I didn’t finish the book I had hoped to finish to help with those financial struggles and to help a friend in the process. I’ve had lots of meetings and errands that have kept me from doing what I “should” be doing. I could go on and keep sliding down, but sliding down into the pit of despair is a crappy place to be, and it’s a place I do my best to stay away from as much as possible.

So what’s a struggling soul to do? I learned a long time ago that it’s not anyone else’s job to make me happy. Yes, I love it when my kids clean their room when I ask them. It does happen occasionally. Yes, I feel a momentary lift when I finish the laundry, everyone puts their clean clothes away and for at least a few hours, there is nothing in the laundry basket. Yes, I smile when I get the kitchen table cleared of all of papers that seem to be magically drawn there and remind me of all of the things I’ve neglected to follow through on because I’ve been able to talk with my family members about how to process each piece. I love when my children are compliant, when my husband helps with the dishes and when I wake up to a home I am proud to welcome people into, but that is not happiness.

Happiness is something different. True happiness is something that comes from inside. It isn’t attached to anyone outside of you. It isn’t the result of someone doing something. It isn’t winning the lottery, although that would be fun. True happiness is being able to see the joy of life even when life may not seem so joyful on the outside. If you are a person of faith, you may know it as being aligned with your Divine purpose or walking with God. If you are more spiritual than religious, you may see it as having your energy vibrating at a higher frequency. For me it is both those things, but it is also something more. It is understanding that being sad or struggling is a huge part of being happy. Without the sadness and the struggle, how would we even know we are happy? Without the things that make bring us down, we wouldn’t know how to get up, and what’s most amazing to me is that most of it happens in our minds and hearts rather than because of any physical situation.

Nothing that happens is good or bad unless we think it is so. Isn’t that an amazing thing? You know what? I would love it if no one ever had to suffer from cancer again, but in my life, cancer has also been a gift. I didn’t get along with my dad, but his cancer diagnosis gave us time to heal. His physical suffering allowed for our emotional and mental healing. Did I want him to get cancer? Of course not. Am I grateful for the opportunity to come to peace like we did? You bet. I don’t mourn my dad’s passing. I celebrate that we got the chance to find a loving place I don’t think we would have found without his diagnosis.

Right now in my country, there are peaceful and not so peaceful protests going on. Many people are judging others for what they are or are not doing, but discussions are popping up and things are being discussed that have not been discussed before, and while the people might be black and white, the issues are not. It is a stupid cliché to say that some of my best friends are black, but a couple of mine are. Their children grew up with mine. I am saddened that they fear for their sons’ lives in a way I don’t, but I know that our friendship helps to bridge a gap that has existed for far too long. I have become more aware because of those friendships of what causes the rifts we have and what heals them. That makes me happy in the midst of the unrest.
As we sit down tomorrow to eat more than we need to at our Thanksgiving meal, I know there are some who will be working through the holiday either by choice or because they feel they cannot make another choice; many of them in emergency services that will save lives while I have dinner. I also know that many will be fed only through the generosity of others and some will not be fed at all. I donate money and goods so that others may be fed. I have volunteered in places that help those people and will continue to do what I can to support organizations that help others help themselves. That gives me hope for a brighter future for me and for those who are in situations that are not desirable, and when I see what others contribute, it also gives me hope for all of humanity to become something better than we are now.

I watch others who have more money than I do, who are thinner than I am or who seems to have so much more than I have, and occasionally I feel like a failure as a wife, mother and human being. Yesterday was one of those days. It was a day when I question why I can’t be better. It was a day when I felt like everyone was doing it better than me. It was a day that ended badly and the remnants were still there this morning, but in my years and years of studying self-help, religious and spiritual books, audios and more, I’ve learned some great things. I’ve learned that counting your blessings isn’t always easy, but it’s always helpful. I’ve learned that no matter how annoyed I might be with a family member, I would rather have them in my life than be without them. I’ve learned that sadness, anger and even depression can be temporary if you are dedicated to feeling better even if it takes medical intervention or holistic life change to make that happen. And perhaps most important, I’ve learned that gratitude and giving thanks are my best friends when I’m down, even and especially if I would rather wallow in my victimhood, martyrdom and judgment.

So, today as I pull myself back up, I am reminded that I have three beautiful sons when others are mourning the loss of their child. I am aware that I have a husband who loves and adores me as much as I adore him when others are lonely. I know that I live in a country that is far from perfect but gives me the opportunity to be anything I aspire to be while other women live in fear in nations where it is illegal for them to even leave their homes alone. As I sit here and write, I have become even more grateful for the good and the bad because they help me to recognize each other. I realize that everyone has struggles and that I can choose to add to someone else’s struggle or be part of their solution, and when I choose to be part of the solution, I line up with the part of me that changes the world for the better, and that is what happiness is for me. Today I will do my best to choose that.

To all who celebrate Thanksgiving in America, I wish you a safe and blessed holiday. For all those who don’t, may the rest of your week be safe and blessed as well. It is a privilege to share my thoughts with those who take the time to read them. Thanks for being you and have a great day!

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