I used to work as a bank teller for a community bank in a nearby town. Every month, all of the employees would get together for our regular associates meeting. At the end of each meeting once business was concluded, someone would ask our “question of the day.” Each associate would take a moment to answer this question.The questions ranged from where you planned on spending your summer vacation, to what you listened to on the radio while you worked. Asking these questions at the time may have seemed insignificant, I’ll be honest I was sometimes watching the clock so that I could head home, but seeing as how there were employees who only saw and interacted with each other at these meetings, it did afford all of us a chance to hear from each other and in some small way get to know one another. Even if the questions and answers seemed trivial to someone else, they served a purpose. Sometimes the questions were light-hearted. Other times they were deeper and more serious, especially after the recession hit.
My favorite question asked out of all of them, mostly because of the answers, was: what is your favorite holiday to celebrate.
I don’t remember which holiday the most people picked but I do remember this answer given by a fellow employee:
“Thanksgiving. Because no matter who you are or what religion you practice you can ALWAYS find things in your life to be thankful for.”
This is so true.
There are always reason to be thankful.
And not just on Thanksgiving.
Every minute of every day.
I speak for myself when I say that even though I know that I should be living a grateful life that this is not normally the case. Sure, I can rattle off a quick list of things that I am thankful for. But to cultivate and always have an attitude of gratitude and to seek out and be intentional about looking for those things that I don’t always consider, now that is work. I am thankful for and can acknowledge my home, family and even the practical things in my life…but there is so much more in between. And what’s more, it is easy to be thankful for a beautiful family. It is easy to be thankful my wonderful children. But is it easy to be thankful for them even when they’re in my face screaming and crying?
Thanksgiving should be a permanent frame of mind, even amidst the pain, chaos and irritation. It should be a constant state of our heart.
This is the hard part.
So, hopefully, some of you will join me over the next 21 days. Even for yourself or by sharing it with others on whatever your medium of choice is, seek out those things that you sometimes gloss over being thankful for. Those things you maybe hadn’t given a second thought too before now. And seek those things that it isn’t always easy to be grateful for.
It’s hard to embrace noise sometimes as a stay at home mother. There are days when all that I want to do is be left alone, to lay on the sofa and stare at the ceiling fan while enjoying sweet silence. This couldn’t be further from how my day normally is.
I love silence and enjoy it very much…when I can get it. I love being able to finish conversations with my husband or my girlfriends, uninterrupted by requests for juice or to be picked up. Sometimes, I imagine all of the conversations that I could have in an hour’s time without being interrupted and just how amazing they would be. It is sometimes very hard to embrace the noise. To welcome it at 7:30 in the morning before coffee. To welcome it at 3:00 a.m. in the form of a whining child. To welcome noise in the form of a three-year old’s temper tantrum.
Much like everything else in our lives, this noise is temporary. These little children who seek me out will not be little forever. Every stage in raising children has had both its own perks and its own drawbacks. The perks? Laughter. Joyful chatter. Squeals of delight. Of course I love that noise. But today, I will strive to be thankful even when there is unpleasant noise. When it is a touch more difficult to enjoy my children. The noise that makes the silence, when I find it, that much more peaceful.
Today…with a headache and a 1-year-old who is supposed to be sleeping as I type this…I am thankful for that noise. Even when sometimes I don’t want to be.
Question: What chaos are you thankful for? What peace can you find amidst the noise of today’s world?