No Matter What Happens, You Can Always Be Thankful

No Matter What Happens, You Can Always Be Thankful

My 15-month-old daughter caught her second flu this month, and I lost a little perspective. My husband and I had been barely two weeks free of coughing, inconsolable crying, and sleepless nights when the cycle started all over again. I worried for my child as I rocked her through the days and nights. I felt sorry for my husband, who looked as haggard as I felt. And a ball of self-pity welled up in my gut as her illness ruined our holiday plans. Why did we have to go through this again? Hadn’t we been through enough?

Then I logged into Facebook and read a few things that made me feel more thankful for my life.

The first post was from a friend of mine who does missionary work in Africa through her church. She wrote her opinion about the upcoming American elections, but not in the typical way people try to endorse one candidate or another. Instead, she told her friends to keep the election in perspective, that yes, the country has problems, but that many Americans still lead a very affluent life, even those like herself who are considered “low income.” She talked about how her sponsored girls in Africa struggle to find food and obtain even a basic education. She urged her friends to be thankful for what we have and to not let election mud-slinging wear us down.

Her post reminded me that I have access to many of life’s luxuries that make dealing with my child’s illness so much easier. I can go to a doctor whenever I want. We live in a nice house in a friendly community. I don’t worry about where my next meal is coming from or if my daughter will get a solid education. People who don’t have half of these things can (and do) find happiness every day.

The second bundle of posts came from a variety of people. I recently celebrated my birthday, and I asked my friends to post things on my wall to make me laugh. The response blew me away. So many people from all different aspects of my life– from my high school days to distant relatives to people whom I met as part of my last job – posted anecdotes, notes, and pictures from all over the world. I had a great time not only reading their posts, but responding to each person individually.

These posts reminded me of all the great people in my life, both past and present. Even though I don’t see many of my friends day-to-day, technology makes it easy to stay connected and share stories. Knowing that they took time out of their busy day to make me smile reminded me how lucky I am to have met them all. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have deep personal relationships with all of them. The fact that so many people want me in their lives, no matter how small, is an honor.

The last, and most emotional, post came from a friend who recently gave birth to premature twins, one of which passed away on his second day of life. Her other child remains in newborn intensive care and will likely stay there for several months. My friend has been quiet about the experience, understandable given the situation. When she does post, though, she has powerful things to say. Her posts can be sad, but they always contain hope. In her latest post, my friend came down with a cold so she couldn’t go the hospital and risk getting her child sick. Because of this, she missed a key milestone in her child’s life: the first time her baby fed from a bottle. My friend could have wallowed in self-pity, but instead, she’s grateful that her husband got to feed the baby and tape the event.

My friend’s courage reminded me that no matter how dire our lives become, you can always find hope. She still grieves for her loss, but she also remains grateful for what she has. She leans on others for support as she needs to, another sign of her inner strength. I can only imagine the range of emotions she wrestles with every day, and yet, she continues to post messages of hope.

We all go through difficult times in our lives. Some of them are life-changing, others can be mere annoyances. Remaining thankful for what you have through it all can make the process more bearable. That doesn’t mean I won’t feel grumpy at two in the morning when my child can’t go back to sleep. But as I hold her tight and kiss her on the forehead, I’m thankful knowing that I have such a wonderful gift in my life. I’m thankful to have family and friends, however distant, who keep my life in perspective. And I’m thankful because no matter how tough life gets, I still get this chance to live it.

Photo by Benurs

Deborah Fike

Deborah Fike is the Director of Educational Outreach for Spotkin, an educational games company that marries fun with learning.  She’s also the founder of Avalon Labs, which provides marketing consultations and writing services for start-ups and online businesses.   She carves out a significant portion of her time to raising her two younger daughters.

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25 Comments

  1. This article makes us aware of how lucky we are and how to be thankful for what we have, as their are so many millions of people far worse off than ourselves. To be grateful is to be humble.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • If you’re lucky enough to enjoy some of the finer things in life, it’s good to keep your perspective to be thankful for what you have. Thanks for reading, Mike.

      Reply
  2. That totally made my day (and luckily it’s just starting!). This article helps me remember to keep things in perspective. Nice to hear about others who are also far away from family and friends and staying positive about it. Thanks for spreading some joy :)

    Reply
    • It’s tough to be away from family during the holidays, but if you have family who miss you, then you have a lot to be thankful for indeed.

      Reply
  3. A little fresh perspective goes a long way…thankyou Debra
    be good to yourself
    David

    Reply
    • Thanks, David. Please do the same for yourself.

      Reply
  4. Also be thankful that your family is together.

    Little did I know but last Thanksgiving may be the last one my family ever spends together.

    Three months ago my wife finally came clean with me that she was quitting on our marriage without even trying to save it.

    I got to see my three kids for five hours today. And while we had a great meal and a great time, I was a little sad today because it was the first big holiday where this new form of my family is what I have.

    Be thankful if you don’t have to do that and if you can hug your spouse today and you both mean it when you say “I love you”.

    Reply
    • I am sorry to hear about your situation, James. I’ve been through a divorce myself and it’s a very dramatic experience. I try to be grateful every day for my current husband, and we both really do mean it when we say “I love you.”

      I can’t imagine shortened holiday times will be easy this season, but do enjoy that time with your children and know that they treasure having you in their lives.

      Reply
  5. wow, that was an encouraging one. thank you for the post. it helps everyone who reads this and be thankful for whatever they have i their life.

    Reply
    • Thanks, sumit. I spent a good day being thankful and hope to continue the trend until next Thanksgiving.

      Reply
  6. That’s an inspiring post.

    Being thankful for what you have teaches people to be compassioned about other people.

    Like everybody I want my own happy family. I love kids. Smile when I see families enjoying time with their kids, but I keep trying my life enjoyable with what I have right now.

    Thanks for the post!

    Reply
    • Glad you have a great outlook on life, Ion, and wishing you the best to find what you’re looking for!

      Reply
      • Thanks! Same to you.

        Reply
  7. If anything happen in the life, we have to search something good.Last month i leave my job firs i think may be i didn`t do right ting but now i got better one with good salary)

    Reply
    • It’s really scary to take a chance, but it also keeps us fresh. Good luck with your new job!

      Reply
  8. Also, being thankful for having hard times is something that we have to consider. I like to do this because difficult times means challenges and an opportunity for learning as well as growth.

    Reply
    • I agree. Hard times often bring good opportunities that we can all be thankful for. Good insight.

      Reply
  9. The Bible counsels us to be thankful “in all circumstances.” It doesn’t say to be thankful “about” all circumstances, but rather “in” them. I think what you wrote is exactly what this verse means. (Hope the flu days are over!)

    Reply
    • Thanks for the insight, and at least for the moment, the flu has vanished (keeping our fingers crossed).

      Reply
  10. What a great post. This shows that each of us does have something to be Thankful for each day and not just at certain times of the year. At times we might need to look a little harder, but there is always someone who would be more than willing to trade places with us even on our worst day.

    Reply
    • Very true. It’s not just about being thankful for the season, but being thankful all year round.

      Reply
  11. Though it’s hard to be thankful every time but life is to bear the pains with a smile. Actually pains are signs that you are still alive to struggle more and we should be grateful for the only chance of living we have. We can choose to take all the good things for granted..Or… we can choose to be happy; we can start acknowledging and being grateful for all the goodness in life, and everything that we do have.

    Reply
  12. ah that last line just pulls at my heart strings “And I’m thankful because no matter how tough life gets, I still get this chance to live it.”

    it really puts things into perspective, Deborah

    Reply
    • Kola, having the chance to live at all is a huge opportunity. I hope never to squander mine.

      Reply
  13. “And I’m thankful because no matter how tough life gets, I still get this chance to live it. Thats exactly what we have to do..and the way we have to approach the life Deborah..this is a little secret for happiness I think.
    In life, there are very few think we can control fully..the rest, it is not about us.
    Nice blog about the life, congrats :)
    I started one too, and if you will take a look at, I will be very happy

    All the best
    Franco

    Reply

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