Being Thankful When Times are Tough
Being Thankful When Times are Tough….
It’s November and that means everybody is posting “I am thankful for ____________” on Facebook. It seems that the minute November 1 rolls around we are all ready to proclaim just how wonderful our lives are and how thankful we are for even the little things. Last year I wrote about being thankful and professed that I was going to be different and write a thankful post every day for an entire year; that didn’t happen. However I was more aware and posted thankful thoughts more so than before. Now 11 days into November I am right back at it posting how thankful I am for “stuff”. I wonder if we are all truly thankful or just making stuff up so that we do not feel left out.
This past week I took my quiet time to sit and watch a video stream of a memorial service for 17 year old Natalie Hill of Coos Bay, Oregon who lost her life to cancer on October 30. Natalie had been battling cancer for three years and shared her journey with the world on her Facebook blog. I cannot remember how I first learned about Natalie but I am beyond thankful that I did. As I sat in the quiet of my bedroom with my ear buds pushed tightly in my ears drowning out the outside world I wanted to make sure I heard every word, every song and saw every picture I could. As a mother I cannot imagine the pain and grief Natalie’s family is dealing with. I cannot imagine spending three years watching my child deal with, battle and lose her life to a despicable disease like cancer. But as I read Natalie’s blog post I got the sense that Natalie was truly thankful for every single minute she had here on earth. Natalie created a bucket list of things she wanted to do before she passed away. She set goals, she worked toward those goals and she reached many of them. Natalie approached life with a can do attitude that is beyond anything I have seen before. She stared cancer in the face and denied to let it conquer her spirit. While sometimes her posts were serious and a bit unnerving, like October 26 when she shared how difficult it was to breathe and that there was nothing more the doctors could do; other posts were filled with fun teenager things like going to the prom, meeting Taylor Swift or getting a tattoo with her best friend Sam.
A day or so prior to Natalie’s death I learned of another young person who lost his battle with cancer in my old hometown. Sam was 13 and although he battled another form of cancer, it was still cancer and it was still a struggle. As I followed the blog that his mother maintained my heart ached for the family and friends that stood by as Sam slowly faded away. As Sam’s mother wrote on a regular basis she was always thankful for the small victories she shared with her boy whether it was a squeeze of his hand, a crooked little smile or small bit of laughter she was grateful. What impressed me even more was the fact that she is thankful for the opportunity to be Sam’s mom to journey with him and to share the moment of his last breath with him. I wonder if I would be able to be thankful for moments like those; I hope I never have the opportunity to find out.
Taking time to be thankful is important and is an opportunity for all of us to be reminded of all we have. Even in tough times we can be thankful. It’s in the darkest of times that our spirit will help us grow stronger and allow us to recognize what it means to be thankful.
For me, I am not going to promise to post a thankful post for a whole year because I won’t. What I can promise is to be more mindful of life and all that surrounds me; the good and the not so good. Working to become a positive influence to those around me by living a life of thanksgiving instead of writing or speaking empty words for one month a year. Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer once said “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” I encourage you to be the light that shines for others not only saying what you are thankful for but living out those thanks and encouraging others to do the same.
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Check out how MadameDeals Pay It Forward with our $100 Story!