The Art of Thankfulness

Recital 2012 / Tiffanyaolson.com

Dance Recital 2012

 

I truly believe that being thankful is an art. It is so simple to do and yet at times appears to be very difficult. I remember just after Aimee died and I was sitting in church. Pastor John was talking about thankfulness and I was sitting there thinking, “thankful? I have nothing to be thankful for! I am sad, mad, frustrated and I seriously doubt I will ever stop crying and have any joy ever again!” Yes I have a penchant for the over dramatic. I later shared some of these sentiments to Mr. Wonderful and to put it mildly my self pity party did not go over so well. “Nothing to be thankful for? Really? Me? Our kids? The rest of our family? All of our friends that have sacrificed greatly to support us through all of this? Food? Water? Shelter? The fact that our dog Molly didn’t die the same week as Aimee? (it was close)

He went on and on and on with all of the things that when my vision isn’t clouded by deep grief that I can readily recall. I took a deep breath and although life didn’t get any easier as we hit a financial brick wall four months later and four months after that our eldest child won the opportunity to be ambulanced 4 hours away to a hospital in Portland because of lung fluid from her pneumonia seeping into her blood stream. That was an eventful two weeks of hospitals, chest tubes and really gross food. What had changed however was my perspective that no matter how bad things get, you always have something to be thankful for. What’s amazing about practicing the art of thankfulness is that when you are focusing on the good stuff the bad stuff, while still bad becomes a bit more bearable.

Being thankful is intentional and something that you have to work on every single day. Mr. Wonderful and I have begun recently to share with each other in the mornings our three biggest wins from the previous day. Three things from the day before that we were grateful for. At the time of this writing there are three days left of the 2016 tax season and when it gets down to the wire like this the pressure intensifies a bit. I just asked him what his three wins from yesterday were and he had to really think of things to come up with as yesterday was a particularly hard day. I’m not sure he feels any better about the day he had yesterday but by mentioning a few highlights it started him off with a positive mindset to begin this day with.

 

Thankfulness / Tiffanyaolson.com

 

There are many ways that you can express gratefulness, I like to write it down. I use my regular journal to do this and its how I start every entry. Somehow writing down all the things that I am thankful for before I begin to talk about all of the other things going on in my life helps me to gain a bit more perspective on the things that I am facing. Recalling the things you are grateful for doesn’t remove the pain or change the situation at hand but it does remind you that in the midst of the hard that you still have reasons to smile.

All of my chemo treatments were done in Eugene, which is 2.5 hours from my home. I had my infusions every three weeks. On those days while I was gone, Heidi, Taryn, Hannah, Pam, Carolyn, Karla and Jennifer would take their turn at coming over and cleaning my house. Talk about letting people in! It’s brutal to let your friends see all of your mess, I truly have no secrets now because they have seen all the junk in my closets! It was huge. A huge blessing for me a huge sacrifice for them and I was so very grateful to have a clean house to look forward to after those long hard infusion days. My clean house and my friends are what I focused on in those days. Something really good in the midst of something really hard.

 

The Art of Thankfulness / Tiffanyaolson.com

Me, Pam, Karla, Jennifer, Heidi, Taryn

 

I am working on being better able to express thankfulness because as the brutal reality of life keeps smacking me in the face I want to be able to handle it all with grace and an optimistic attitude that approaches each circumstance as just part of the road that God is taking me on to become who He wants me to be. If I spend my time focusing on all those things that are good it allows God to handle all of the things that are hard.

What are you thankful for today?

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Comments

  1. You..I’m thankful for you

  2. You…….I’m thankful you write this blog

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