Thanksgiving is historically marked as a time to give thanks for the blessings in our lives. Though there are disagreements of the holiday's origins, all accounts still circle back to the main reason for this special day - being grateful, be it for a bountiful harvest or finding a safe passage back home.
Now I know you will be reading many articles and blogs during this holiday weekend that express gratitude and great thanks and may be thinking to yourself, "oh, not another one." But I cannot ignore the timeliness of the holiday or the great importance that this day holds.
Like most households struggling to stay afloat in today's economy, we too have felt the crunch of belt-tightening and what seems to be an endless flow of bills that surpass our modest income. In just one month, my husband and I unexpectedly incurred a few thousand dollars of debt due to an auto accident and medical care for both our child and a dog. As much as I tried to convince myself to let it roll off my back and know that all will work itself out in due time, I couldn't shake the stress and anxiety. In fact, I couldn't sleep, felt physically tensed and stressed, and practically cried to my sister-in-law about my financial woes. I was certainly not in my happy place after receiving the onslaught of unplanned expenses, and I know there are many other families in a similar situation or even worse that are dealing with the pressure of meeting financial obligations and trying not to disrupt the "normal" routine of the household.
While still dwelling on my own personal woes, I received a list from United Way of their 2010 Adopt-a-Family candidates. The campaign is designed to provide needy families with much-needed items and give them a sense of holiday, if only for one day. The list provided a very brief summary of the families who were struggling with living expenses or displaced, as well as a short recommendation of what they would like for Christmas. Many of the families were unemployed, recently lost a loved one who was the sole source of income, or were single parents struggling to make ends meet. Their list of wants read more like a list of needs, ranging from clothes, shoes, blankets and supermarket gift cards.
My heart went out to each and every person on that list and I realized that even though I may be going through a rough spot right now, I am very blessed and provided for. I have a husband who stands by me and has stayed with me through life's ups and downs, I have a beautiful, loving daughter who brings me more joy each day than I thought possible, and I have family and friends who provide a much needed web of support. The list of disadvantaged families reminded me to focus on and be thankful for the positives that I have in my life, and in the spirit of goodwill, to give what I could to those who need it most. Also, when I do experience a curve ball in my otherwise wonderful life, to remind myself that this too, shall pass.
Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless!