Monday, October 31, 2011

Inspiring Thankfulness in Others


Thankfulness is becoming the big topic this time of year, especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner. Three Thinking Mothers once again has that way of just jumping through the seasons with their upcoming thoughts.

So many times I feel that the words, “I am thankful for…” seem to only ring this time of the year. While we can all think of many things we are thankful for at Thanksgiving and we inspire our children to think of the things they are thankful for as they create Thanksgiving crafts, how about the rest of the year? How about in our daily lives, even when the day has been so hectic we feel that we are pulling our hair out at every turn, do you stop and think of at least one thing your thankful for?

I suppose I was fortunate when growing up that my mom always drilled into me to look for the good things in everything. When things just didn’t seem to be going my way or when I was just not having a good day, my mom would pipe up and make me look for the bright side, something good, something to be thankful for. Through the years I have developed this practice and have discovered how blessed, calm, and bright my day can become just by stopping in the middle of havoc and taking a deep breath and looking for something good.

My husband on the other hand can take the smallest event and turn it in to the greatest disaster ever. I find myself often having to point out the bright side for him. As an example, he was going to loan his van to a friend to make their camping trip easier. The night before they were to pick up the van, he went out to clean it up a bit. When he went to start it, yes, that’s right it wouldn’t start. He immediately began to feel like it was the end of the world, he was so disappointed in having to call his friend and tell them the van needed a new battery. I quickly jumped and before he called asked him to look on the bright side. He was so disappointed that he couldn’t think of anything good, he was letting his friends down, we would be spending so much money for a new battery, the list could go on. I finally spoke up and asked him one question, “What if this wouldn’t have happened now, and your friends got the van clear out in the backwoods, to only discover it wouldn’t start to get it home? How much would it have cost to tow it home on top of everything else?” Pondering this question my husband was finally able to realize that there was a bright side, no that did not make the van start, he still had to call and disappoint his friends, we still had to buy a new battery, but he could see the timing of this could have prevented his friends from being stranded out in the middle of no where.

I know when I was going through my lowest point in my life, when I was battling with my cancer, many times people just didn’t know what to say, or how to approach me. I could feel that they thought I was living in nothing but sadness and doom. This truly was not the case. I looked into my situation and looked for the bright side. I had so many things to be thankful for going through that:

  • We had discovered it very early
  • I had a great team of doctors and a great support system
  • I had my husband and Selena at my side
  • I didn’t get as sick as some do
  • This was drawing me closer to God

The list went on and on, the point being that if we do look hard enough we can find things to be thankful for, brightness in the gloom. It isn’t always easy and sometimes we do have to work hard to find the light, but yes, no matter what it is there.

Many times I find myself talking with friends who are just struggling with issues in their lives. They just seem like it is the end of the world, they just can’t seem to get their mind off the problems of the time. I have many times used the same words to them as I use in my own life, and as I used to help my husband see the bright side. I have watched how these simple words have changed the mood of my friends, family and even myself.

There is always something we can be thankful for, sometimes we just have to look a little harder, but I think the one thing that I love the most is the simple phrase my mom left me with, “Look for the bright side of any situation.” I know for me this is the easiest way to find something to be thankful for.

How do you promote thankfulness in others? Come on over to Three Thinking Mothers and share your inspiring words of encouragement.

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  1. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thank you for the inspiring words!

  2. Now the words of "Count Your Blessings" are floating through my mind - "When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surpise you what the Lord hath done." So true!

  3. This is very inspiring. Lars is a lot like Michael too, but he is getting better lately :)

  4. We try to at least once a week, if not more often have the kids tell us something they're thankful for. It's been an eye opener at times.

  5. I feel that thankfulness and gratitude are SO important! Thanks for sharing this post, Debbie.