Our national holiday of gratitude, Thanksgiving, was born and grew out of hard times. The first Thanksgiving took place after nearly half the pilgrims died from a rough winter and year. It became a national holiday in 1863 in the middle of the Civil War and was moved to its current date in the 1930s following the Depression. – Robert Emmons, PhD
I am not going to sugar coat it—2020 has been an epically bad year. Many of us are struggling to feel thankful in midst of a global pandemic, economic strife, and social discord. With over 250,000 Americans dead and our economy in shambles, we fear that the light at the end of 2020 (if we can see one) might be an oncoming train. And, to top it off, we have been engaged in a contentious and divisive election.
How then, and why, should we be thankful? Simply put, an “attitude of gratitude” helps us cope with crisis. We become more resilient and able to deal with both minor hassles and major upheavals. Being thankful allows us to see our lives from a macro view, instead of being overwhelmed by our temporary trials.
For a moment, consider a time in your past when you were enmeshed in a frightening and uncertain situation. Feel what that was like and then look at how you came through it. Remember that you are here, you survived this, and (hopefully) you are better for it. Knowing that we cannot control every aspect of our lives, knowing that circumstances can take away everything we hold dear, helps us appreciate the things we do have and not take them for granted.
Giving thanks doesn’t always arise from celebrating good times. Trials and suffering can deepen our sense of gratitude, if we cultivate an appreciation for the things we do have and develop a state of gratefulness.
Please join with me to identify and appreciate the blessings we have this Thanksgiving.
2020 Thanksgiving Thank you
Thank you for the little things
Thank you for that smile beneath your mask. I can see it in your eyes.
Thank you for the little wave when you offer me the right of way at an intersection.
Thank you for the nod of your head or a quick hi when we pass in the park.
Thank you for tolerating my children when they are having one of their rare bumpy moments.
Thank you for using the doggie poop bags.
Thank you for responding timely to my emails, texts and phone calls even when you don’t understand the brilliance and importance behind them.
Thank you for unrolling your dirty socks before throwing them into the laundry.
Thank you for complimenting my excellent food preparation even for just okay meals.
Thank you for caring about your messes and taking corrective action every once in a while.
Thank you for watching my TV show occasionally even when it is your 2nd or 3rd choice.
Thank you for listening to my amazing ideas and insights, without nodding off very often.
Thank you for remembering my birthdays.
Thank you for caring about being a positive presence.
Most of all, thank you for your consistent kindness to me, our children, our friends, our relatives, our coworkers, the COVID service people and total strangers.
Founders of The Foundation for Affordable Housing