Gratitude This Christmas

Home for the holidays with my family, and all I can think about is how blessed I feel. Not for the the gifts I’m getting or the time off or all the food- all of which I am definitely excited about. But I feel blessed to be at a place in life where I just clearly recognize and appreciate everyone and everything in my life and am content with just that. For so many years I’ve silently done the compare game, especially around the holidays which I’ve always considered the most romantic time of the year. Why don’t I have someone to kiss under the mistletoe? Where’s my family with the matching pjs? But thankfully, this year I’m finally at a place where there’s none of that.

As I sit in my childhood bedroom, all I can think about is all that I’ve been blessed to overcome all these years on earth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying life is perfect because perfection doesn’t exist. Even as I type this my mind goes to a particular family drama involving my nephew who will be missing his son’s first Christmas. And my heart goes out to at least 3 sorority sisters of mine who are dealing with the loss of a parent – a pain I know too well- this holiday. But while I don’t profess to know it all, I know that in time they’ll prayerfully all come to this same place – a place of peace and gratitude about having made it through. During those dips in life it can sometimes feel impossible to get to this place, like it’s a light at the end of a tunnel that goes on forever. But that other side exists. It’s different for everyone and it definitely takes time. But when you do get to it you’ll hopefully find the meaning and the gratitude of it all as you realize the place of it all in your journey. (Sidenote: I know when it comes to dealing with grief that finding meaning is the last thing you can imagine. For starters, everyone deals with grief differently and I can only speak for myself. But I know that it was the death of my father and my grandmother that made me more empathetic and feel more connected to everyone. It made me look at how valuable and fleeting life is. It made me value my family in ways I didn’t before. My spirituality has definitely grown and evolved since then.  It even kickstarted this journey into being more mindful of the products I use and now making and consuming natural products. That doesn’t mean I don’t still feel the loss & get sad, especially during the holidays. But the healing has begun.)

This time last year I was not in the Holiday spirit at all. I was knee-deep in a depression brought on by the election and the decision to finally get over someone I had no business entertaining in the first place. While I was grateful for the cocoon of being home with my family, my vision was clouded. That happens. That’s being human. But I am happy to be in a different place this year. I have a family that supports me and loves me to pieces. I have friends, spread out though they may be, that love me and support me as I do them in addition to inspiring me in ways they don’t know. I have a job that allows me to have this kind of break. I have a roof over my head. I have my health- aches pains and all. And I’m alive. I’ve made it through dark places where I didn’t have all that and took what I did have for granted. Life isn’t easy, but I know it’s just as important to take stock of the good just as you do the bad.

So I’m walking into this Christmas with a heart full of gratitude, and also prayers for all those who aren’t in the best place physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually. If you’re reading this and that’s you- know that it gets better. I promise on everything it does.

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