This is time of year that again and again we are reminded to be thankful. We should make gratitude lists, create thankful-based art projects for our kids and host or travel to a bountiful Thanksgiving feast. It’s easy to lose sight of your blessings when you have so many obligations to fulfill. Often, the most gratitude I can eek out of Thanksgiving week is the lip service my family gives it right before we dive into the turkey. Somehow, I think the meaning is lost when my kids are more focused on how much they can eat instead of celebrating how much they already have.
I’d like to do better this year. I’d like to make being thankful a habit as opposed to a rushed ritual of the holiday. I truly do believe in the power of gratitude. I’m not quite sure how to harness this power.
There are so many external factors that are out of our control. Years ago I learned that when faced with a challenge, if you surrender the outcome, sometimes you can find a pocket of peace to get you through. My boys have a genetic eye condition, that thanks to great medical care, are now doing awesome and seeing nearly 20/20. When these vision issues first surfaced, I had a hard time finding reasons to be thankful for many, many months. Here is an excerpt from my personal blog when I begin to accept the external circumstances and shifted my perception to one of gratitude.
“… I had this sort of out of body experience. I saw clearly for the first time that if all [my son] was ever allowed was minimal vision, he was going to kick life in the [butt] and be a huge success. I learned a new prayer that day. The prayer was a thank you for the vision provided to my son for it is exactly what he needs to be who he is. That was the day I started to learn acceptance. I accepted his coke-bottle lenses whole heartedly (I mean come on, they are freakin’ adorable!). I accepted that regular eye check-ups (sometimes done under anesthesia) and doctor’s visits were a part of our lives. I accepted that while some of his eye care may be a challenge (patching his left eye on a daily basis), it’s just what we do.”
I’m not waiting anymore to find my gratitude in perfection. Making mistakes, dealing with vision challenges and having a complete inability to make a huge Thanksgiving feast from scratch are some of my life’s imperfections.
I am thankful for all of it.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent
Eye Am Thankful, Sep 24, 2009, writesforallmommies.com