CULTON: Finding thanks in the hard times

Published 3:57 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2021

It’s been a hard year for a lot of people.

The lingering COVID-19 pandemic has left so many of us isolated, stressed and hurting. We all have lost and endured so much that it can be hard to find things to be grateful for.  How can we be grateful when so many have lost their jobs? Their homes? Their loved ones?

I understand the feeling well. After losing several family members this year from a combination of COVID, cancer and heart failure, I wasn’t feeling very thankful. I was feeling sad and lonely and angry. I wanted nothing more than to hide under the covers, never to be seen again.

But that’s not how we heal.

Though it may be difficult to do so, I think the best way we can recover from these past two years is to find ways to count our blessings — and what better time to start than a holiday based on giving thanks?

It is so much easier to heal when we are focusing on the positives in our lives than the negatives — when we are grateful for what we have rather than regretful for what we don’t. Counting our blessings is so much more rewarding than counting our losses, so before you feast this Thanksgiving, why don’t you take part in the tradition of going around the table and saying what you are thankful for, but instead of just one, let’s try to list as many as you can.

I’ll go first.

I’m thankful for my parents, who are my rocks and have never wavered in their support of me. I’m grateful for my sister, who I love so much despite our differences. I’m grateful for my partner, who always tries to me make laugh, even when I’m being a grouch, and for my friends who are always there when I need them. I’m thankful for my coworkers, who make going to work fun. I’m grateful to the community for sharing their stories with me and letting me do what I love each day. I’m thankful for my cats; for my car, even though it’s always falling apart; for a roof over my head; that I never have to worry about where my next meal is coming from; the new Taylor Swift album for letting me relive my middle school days; and for living in an area where I’m never more than a half-mile away from a good slice of pizza.

The list could go on and on and on. It gets easier as you go — if not a bit tedious — but it is so much better than the alternative.

Now it’s your turn.

Let’s work hard to be Thankful this holiday season, and hope that the task gets easier next year.