For a long time I have tried to be intentional about being thankful on a regular, if not daily basis. I have come to believe that even in the midst of chaos, strife, war, hard times, grief and even the events that are going on around the world at the moment, there is always something to be thankful for. There is no denying that there are times when you do have to look a whole lot harder for those little glimmers of hope than others, but there is always something.
Movies like “Life is Beautiful” and amazing books like “Man’s search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl, “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin Zander or “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach have helped me to cultivate this sense of gratitude for everyday life, including the hard things.
I talk about this a lot with photographers and creatives when developing your creative eye. It’s all about focus! Not just the camera type of focus either! The “what am I seeking out”, “what am I looking for”, “what is going to have my attention” type of focus. The more you look the more you see. You have probably had the experience when going to buy a new car and decide upon a certain make and model and even colour. Suddenly, every day you see more and more of these cars just like the one you are thinking of buying! I remember when I first found out that I was pregnant with Chloe Jane. All of a sudden it seemed like there were pregnant women everywhere. In both the car and pregnancy situations, it wasn’t that there were any more cars or pregnant women than there were before, it was just that I was actually focussing on them!
This last year has been a tough one, being away from Chloe, uprooting two teenagers to a completely different schooling system on a ship and living and working on that same ship, as well as being away from other family and friends that mean the world to us has all been difficult. I think we have survived because there is so much good and so many beautiful (big and little) things that we can focus on. I still have a choice though – there are so many other things that I could focus on as well! We have chosen to seek out the little things that we do have, and have been grateful for those. It is probably why this bible verse is such a favourite of mine!
Phillipians 4:8 … whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
So as November rolls around, it always seems like a good month to hand over to being super-intentional to being thankful every day, as we have in the past with the Day2Day project. I’ve had fun pulling up past “memories” on Facebook and seeing what I have been thankful for over the years and have also enjoyed being intentional about creating some new ones.
There is always something to be thankful for …