Gratitude: No Matter How Humble, We Have More Than We Know
Have you ever thought about how gratitude has changed over the years? The historic “first Thanksgiving” – you know the one that schoolchildren across the country have re-enacted on gymnasium stages for decades if not centuries – people were grateful just to have enough food to eat so they wouldn’t die of starvation over the winter.
The past few years have been some of the most overall difficult in my lifetime. I say overall difficult because, like many others, I’ve had time periods that were personally far worse than this. Like the two-year span when I lost my dad, my job, my house, my car, and then my children’s father? That really sucked indescribably.
But as far as overall mental health crises, grief, financial problems, stress, dystopian laws, rage, crime, and a change to our way of life, these past few years take the American cake for my lifetime.
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So what the hell are we so thankful about right now?
I’m glad you asked.
Gratitude will get you through a lot.
Just as our long-ago Puritan ancestors were grateful for some corn and pumpkin and their new neighbors who showed them the fruits of this land (before all-out slaughter occurred, but that’s outside the scope of this article), we too have small, humble blessings which we must not overlook.
Perhaps you’re having chicken instead of turkey this year, visiting a soup kitchen for your meal, cobbling together a feast based on what you have on hand, or just having a burger. It could be that you’re all alone and missing your family and a video call is a cold comfort when you just want a hug from the people you love. You may have downgraded your living accommodations due to our economic crisis, or you could be packing up to do just that, or hosting your last Thanksgiving in a home where you raised your children and lived the story of your life.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that some people have it worse. You already know that and it surely does not make your situation any better. Life isn’t a game of, “Well at least things aren’t as bad as they are for Hildebrand next door.” (And if that IS your life, you need to re-prioritize, ASAP.)
Your life and your financial situation may have been better in the past. But you’re still alive to fight another day and what greater gift could there be than that?
The simplest things are the most important.
Instead, think about the things you have to be grateful for without comparison, because I assure you, your low point would be a high point for many others.
- You have a roof over your head.
- You have food on your table.
- You’re not in immediate, life-threatening danger.
- You have someone, anyone to love.
The simplest things are the most important. Look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The base of that pyramid is made up of the things that are most essential to life.
It sounds like nothing and yet it’s everything. Trust me, if you have lived without having those needs met, without knowing where your next meal is coming from or where you’ll stay that night or if someone is going to come home and beat the crap out of you, you will agree that these pieces of security that so many take for granted mean the world.
If you have those needs met, then you have something for which to be grateful. While it may not be fancy and it may not be what it once was, you have the basics of survival, and you have this day to be thankful for it. If you have the internet or a phone to reach those who can’t be with you, you are still blessed with their presence in some way. Instead of thinking about what you don’t have, think about what you do have.
Not everyone has those needs met.
Think about all the times throughout history when these things were not a given as they are now. Think about people living on the streets, those who survived the shelling and mayhem of the Balkan war, those who are victims of trafficking, those who live life in fear of not finding their next meal or surviving until the next day.
For one day, just this one, I encourage you to focus on the meaning of the day. Tomorrow you can pick up where you left off, complaining and worrying. (You might instead consider adding gratitude as a practice to your daily life.)
But for today, let’s put aside politics, social tribes, talk about viruses and vaccines, and all the things that divide us. Let’s ignore someone’s purple hair or new tattoo, or better yet, find a way to compliment it. Let’s enjoy people for who they are, not who you wish they were. Let’s focus on the things we have to be grateful for – those noisy kids running around, the dog, the cat, the family member who always complains, the roof that shelters us, the food on the table. We have no idea what next year will bring, but we have what we have today.
No matter how humble, we have more than we know.
Happy Thanksgiving, to all of you who have stood by us here at The Organic Prepper through thick and thin. You have our gratitude every single day.
Article posted with permission from Daisy Luther