Years ago I worked outside the home in an office setting located at the local senior center. I became acquainted with many of the seniors who frequented the place, and I loved hearing their stories. My office co-workers were also senior citizens, and they taught me much. Between these groups, I learned thankfulness.
These seniors grew up during the Depression. They didn’t take life for granted. They were so thankful for provision there were times it became a fear of lack and they saved things they’d never use or take more of something just in case. Until you’ve lived through a season where you aren’t sure if you get a next meal, you can’t understand. I didn’t. But what they had, even down to wrapping paper and crackers with their soup, they were thankful for those things.
Speaking of things, my co-workers lived in the area during the 1972 Agnes Hurricane that devastated our hometown as a flood. I was too young to remember but the pictures are haunting. Places I walk and visit were completely submerged. If you visit the Corning Museum of Glass, you will see the flood line and it is high. It was the hardest time my co workers had known.
They shared that even as I talked to them twenty years later they recall the smell of mud. Everything they owned was covered in mud and dirty waters. Precious pictures, antiques and so much Corning Glass, remember, my hometown is world headquarters for Corning Inc, were destroyed by the flood. When I would get upset about something like a spill on my sweater, my colleagues were quick to remind me that things were things. The flood taught them that anything tangible can be taken away. Focus on what counts like people and forget your car or furniture or clothes. They are just things.
Those memories are a great reminder as this year closes out. 2020 was certainly one to remember for all the wrong reasons and 2021 for me was actually worse. I lost my mom the first week of the year and it’s pretty hard to have a banner year after such a significant loss. The stress caused a lot of health issues. A lot of people I know were diagnosed with COVID, some did not survive. It’s been a tough, tough year.
At times I want to complain and whine, and honestly, my husband lets me vent on an extra hard day. When I’m tempted to choose bitterness, I remember the senior citizens. Most of them have passed away, but the lessons they taught me are very much alive. If I start to complain, I switch gears with an “anyway.”
Anyway gives me the opportunity to stop with the negative and start remembering and speaking why I’m thankful. When I start listing the reasons, even in the darkest season I have things to praise God for.-Julie Arduini
- My mom is not suffering. Last year she was in an excruciating amount of pain.
- My mom is with Jesus. Her faith was authentic and personal and I have no doubt her eternal destination.
- My mom escaped the brunt of this year’s current events. The news this year and what I believe is to come would have broken her heart. She loved this country and our freedoms.
- I have a family that has let me grieve, make mistakes, and order out on days I couldn’t function.
There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll end with this, through all of the pain and circumstances I walked through this year, I felt God’s presence. I knew people were praying and I could feel His comfort. It is hard to put into words but when you know, you KNOW. I honestly can’t imagine surviving the year without my faith in Christ. For that, I am most thankful.
Anyway, (see that I did there?) how about you? What are you thankful for this year?
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!