It seems that my favor season, Fall, was short lived and has already passed and been replaced with Winter. However, my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is right around the corner. I love Thanksgiving!!! It’s a time of food, family and friends! It is also an excellent time to be reflective and take inventory of all that we have to be thankful for. I know every person who may or may never read this blog is facing some short of challenge. Our lives, no matter how wonderful, will have an unpleasant circumstance crop up from time to time. However, one can always find something to be thankful for. Truly the quality and status of our life and circumstances is dictated by perception and actions…. but it all starts with perception. I heard a quote a long time ago that says something along these lines, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!!!”
With each passing year, my perception and awareness of all that I have to be thankful for expands. That thankfulness list has definitely grown from what it was ten, five or even one year ago. There are many things that as a child I took for granted, like having a loving family who protected me rather than abuse me and provided me with everything I had need or want of. Growing up I have to admit I led a pretty sheltered life in the aspect I had no real concept/idea of the hardships, horrors, and challenges so many people face. As an adult, I became employed by the Kentucky State Police originally as a E911 Telecommunicator, and became a foster/adoptive parent. Needless to say both of those life choices opened my eyes to a whole wealth of information and I became, shall we say, aware of the darker side of the world that I never knew existed.
I was with a friend recently at the hospital who has battled an ongoing ailment that modern medicine can seem to find no cause or cure for. It’s very frustrating and painful (physically and emotionally) for my friend. Me being me though, I tried to be positive and encouraging and point out what’s going right in hopes to shift my friend’s thoughts from the depression that was beginning to setting in. So, I began to empathize that I know what is going on currently is frustrating and it’s normal to feel all those emotions, but it’s important to not lose hope and to remind oneself of all that is going right…. being able to see, walk, hear, eat, etc. Many people are unable to do or experience things we take for granted. There are people who are facing insurmountable odds and challenges, yet maintain an amazingly positive, can-do attitude which enables them to overcome ever obstacle to lead a happy, productive life. Examples can be found in the lives of countless Veterans who have lost multiple limbs, but continue to live their life by adapting to a new norm. No legs? No problem, they learn to walk on prosthetics. I’ve had the honor of meeting a combat veteran who lost both legs and one arm, yet he still surfs and has the most amazing and encouraging personality, attitude and outlook of anyone I’ve ever met!! He takes a horrific situation and not only makes the best of it, he is using it to help and encourage countless others. He will tell you that his injury has opened up doors of opportunity for him to experience and do things that otherwise he never would have. In all of life’s challenges, it truly is a matter of mind over matter. Where your mind goes, the rest of you will follow and the quote I heard is profoundly true…. “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!”
Our experiences and life choices are all useful, even the bad ones, as opportunities to learn, grow, and be used to encourage/help/benefit/better someone else. Everyone’s testimony, originates from a “test.” My desire to help combat veterans and their families and my compassion for their struggle became far more real after I was married to a combat vet and experienced firsthand the challenges they face. Let me interject here that you don’t have to experience tragedy or live the exact same experiences as others in order to help or effect change in a situation or make a difference in someone’s life. As I’ve said numerous times, we can all do something right where we are to make a difference and be a changer of our world. I’m just saying that those life experiences you have found the most challenging could be the very same ones that can be used to bless, help, encourage or save someone’s life.
I encourage you to have an attitude and outlook of thankfulness not only during this Thanksgiving holiday, but throughout the year. There are blessing strewn throughout our daily lives, your perspective determines whether or not you recognize them. Don’t allow challenges or negative circumstances to eclipse all the good in your life or allow depression or despair to drown out hope and compassion. Lastly, always be on the lookout for an opportunity to good to others. One of the most amazing feelings comes from knowing you helped someone.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!! A special note of thanks to our service men and women and their families. Know your sacrifice is appreciated and never forgotten. God bless and protect you!!