Gratitude is a satisfying feeling, but admittedly, it can take awhile and some struggle for a person to get there. You may have friends who post on social media what they are grateful for everyday of November, but gratitude isn't just for Thanksgiving or the month of November, it's for every hour that you are alive.
You might be saying that you know that, but let me explain.
We flew out to Oregon for Thanksgiving on Wednesday. My stepson is attending college out here now and my sister-in-law and her husband also live out here, so it was an easy decision to spend time with family in spite of the holiday travel situation.
I received a phone call from my stepson when we were waiting for our connection in Seattle. He had totaled his car and walked away from it. He was bruised, not just physically but mentally and emotionally. He apologized over and over again for ruining the car that I had just bought for him three months ago.
Whatever. My response? "I'm grateful you're okay."
He seemed stunned. He wasn't sure what to say. Of course I'm grateful that he's okay, was I disappointed that his 1995 BMW with 200,000 miles on it didn't last him longer than three months? Yeah, but if it hadn't been totaled who knows how long it would have been mechanically sound anyway.
Gratitude for your loved ones walking away from an accident isn't anything new, but allowing the gratitude to defeat the anger and disappointment is. I know of many parents who would have exploded about the loss of the material possession first then asked questions about the humanity involved later. It seems to be a growing preoccupation in a country whose obsession with Black Friday has clouded the one holiday that is about celebrating gratitude.
Our sense of humanity. Where has it gone? It's certainly difficult to see in this day and age when Syrian refugees are seeking shelter in unknown lands because their own home has grown volatile. Our sense of humanity is difficult to find when social media accounts promote lies that increasingly divide our country into two sides working against each other instead of with each other. Our sense of humanity is difficult to feel when all the shootings can make you go numb.
We can choose the intensity of our emotions, we shouldn't disallow ourselves to feel negative emotions, but we can choose to be positive, to see the silver lining. (By the way, if you haven't heard "My Silver Lining" from First Aid Kit you should.) We should strive to see the value in each other, in each new experience, whether it be difficult and challenging or smooth sailing. If we want to continue living on our planet together we must find our sense of humanity, our sense of compassion. We all make mistakes, we all have our own opinions, our own beliefs. It is no reason to hurt each other over them.
We arrived at the Oregon beach last night and will spend all day today here. This will be my view today, of the boy I've helped raise since he was nine-years-old and my four-year old boy playing together, doing brotherly things.
This is my silver lining.