Thanksgiving is such a sweet time of year. It allows us to remember what we’ve been blessed with and what we truly appreciate and love. Plus, who doesn’t love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and some pumpkin cheesecake!? I pray that my friends and family know how thankful I am for them every single day. But this year, I want God to know that I am thankful for more than just the good things- but the bad and the mediocre. After all, life isn’t all sunshine and darkness- we’ve got the “just okay” things too. This year, let’s be thankful for the good but let’s also just be thankful we get to live this life God gave us.
There are three specific things I have recently realized I was thankful for. They aren’t things most people would think of and honestly, some would probably cringe at the thought of them. I wanted to get into each of them and talk about why in the world I could be thankful that each of these things is a part of my life.
I am going to be cliché right off the gate and say that I am thankful for homework because I am lucky enough to go to school. I am not just lucky enough to go, but I am lucky enough to go to college for free and to be graduating an entire semester early (one month, y’all!). Homework is something I have recently been complaining a lot about. Now that I am near the end of my bachelor’s degree, I have found homework increasingly inconvenient. I have been procrastinating (I currently am by writing this post) and honestly not putting my best effort into my school work. Little do I know how lucky I am.
I am lucky enough to not have to work a full-time job while I am in school. I am lucky enough, as a woman, to earn an education without any second-guessing or slander from men. I am lucky enough to learn! And yes, homework is part of the learning. I am incredibly thankful for the knowledge I have gotten from 15+ years of homework. I am beyond thankful for the ability to go to school and I am so so thankful for the patience and responsibility it has taught me.
Having deadlines, having to meet your professor’s citation requirements on an essay, reading the instructions carefully… these things have all taught me responsibility and that good things come to those who persevere. It sounds absolutely silly, and maybe it is, but we should all take the time to be thankful for what has grown our patience.
You have them, I have them, we all have them. It’s a weird moment where all of the sudden, one emotion just completely takes control of you. It could be anger, sadness, frustration, and maybe even happiness. You’ve reached your tipping point. You’ve bottled it up far too long and it’s all about to come crashing down. The only way your body knows how to release that pent-up anxiety or darkness is crying. It’s not just a pretty little tear slipping from your eye. It’s a cry that leaves your face splotchy and red and your eyes hurt the next day. Your head is pounding and all you can do is fall asleep.
That, my lovely friend, is Jesus. He is there through it all. When He sees we can no longer handle it, He gives us that gentle sweet sleep at the end of a heavy cry and wipes away our tears. At the end of an ugly cry, there is always a state of peace- and that’s where God is telling us it is all going to be alright.
I am thankful for the ugly cries. Not because it’s fun to be in pain or because it’s even good to let out your emotions. I am thankful for those heavy, deep sobs because I always find Jesus waiting at the end of them. That peaceful and blissful moment where we realize we are going to be okay is the most beautiful moment. I am thankful for the ugly cries because God is always there through them.
Yes, ladies. You read that right. I am thankful for period cramps. If you don’t have a period (whether it’s medicine, you’re a dude, or you’re just past that point in life) then think of just a really bad stomach cramp after eating some bad food. I always react badly to my cramps. I let them drag me down and sometimes even keep me home for the evening or an entire day. They distract me from everything I have going on and prevent me from being able to move forward.
However, my body is still communicating with me. My body is still functioning in the right way. My brain and nervous system are working together to tell me I feel pain. I am still in sync with myself and in sync with my body- despite the pain. I am thankful for the reminder that I am still living and thankful for the communication my brain survives. And let’s be honest… pain like this is so humbling for those of us who often try to act tough as nails.
When I first started college, I felt like I had to prove I could be emotionally strong and physically strong. I pushed myself to my limits in both ways. One night I was working out with a friend and tried to increase my PR on the squat rack. My “tough as nails” self did it and then when I went to set the weights back on the rack behind me… well, the weights took me down instead. Not only did an alarm get sent off through the gym but the cute guy working the front desk ran over to help me… (I was single at the time, people) I. Was. Mortified. But I was also extremely humbled. Sometimes we need a reminder that we can’t be Wonder Woman because we are, in fact, human. I am thankful for the pain and the humble reminder that yes, even period cramps bring.
As silly as this is, this is really what Thanksgiving is about- being grateful for everything. Yes, even the goofy stuff. Life is so short and it’s sometimes just important to be thankful to be human and to be alive. So this week, tell your momma and your sister you are thankful you have them. But also let God know how thankful you are for the little things in life- even the ones we find inconvenient- because how lucky are we to live this life?