With the first hint of coolness in the air I feel my mood shift upwards. Autumn is my favorite time of year. Joy increases! Expectations soar! I feel ready for new challenges!
And with autumn comes Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday! Intentionally looking for blessings and expressing gratitude for them is how I have always approached Thanksgiving, from as far back as I can remember. I enjoy even the “hide and seek” game that is sometimes required when those blessings are a bit harder to find. But this year…this year was different.
It has been a hard year. In just about every way. For everybody. And, as often happens, people tend to look at how things affect them before looking at how they also affect others. This year became too “me” focused. Not a good sign.
So two days before Thanksgiving, walking through a parking lot talking on the phone to one of my daughters, I confessed how I wasn’t too excited about Thanksgiving this year. That is a first for any of my kids to hear! I was even contemplating going away next year to a cabin in the woods somewhere and holing up for the holiday. And then I heard it…I heard myself griping about how everyone is griping. And the ridiculousness of it all just hit me and I started laughing! In that one short instant I shifted. I decided I was going to ENJOY Thanksgiving as I always have. If people wanted to join me, great. If not, that was their decision.
A choice. That’s all it was. A choice of where to place my focus. And I realize that every day of the year we have this same choice. This year was different. Instead of a natural joy, this year was a decision to enjoy. And today I am faced with that same decision. And tomorrow. And all year long. Three life lessons came out of this Thanksgiving, and I want to share them with you:
- Deciding where to put our focus is intentional.
- Deciding to enjoy is powerful.
- Gratefulness is the comfort food of the soul.
Number three might need some explanation. You see, the soul is made up of our mind (thoughts), will (desires), and emotions (feelings). And just as actual comfort food, whether it is grandma’s chocolate pie, mashed potatoes and gravy, chips and salsa (or whatever you personally want to insert as your own here) is an association between certain kinds of foods and how they affect our emotions, so is gratefulness. There is a strong link between genuine gratefulness and the condition of our soul. Heartfelt gratitude is the comfort food of the soul. It affects our emotions, thoughts and desires.
Making a choice of where to place our focus creates a shift in our soul, our thoughts. It is powerful. The rest follows.
So eat some comfort food today. Devour some true gratefulness and watch how it affects you and all the relationships around you. Take it in, and enjoy the comfort it brings your soul. All year long.