Thankful for the little things
On the Bright Side
November 12, 2022
Thanksgiving is coming right up, a uniquely American holiday, a time to celebrate being grateful, a time to remember to count our blessings. And since the holiday revolves around a food feast as well, one wonderful old tradition is to pause before the holiday meal and go around the table giving everyone a chance to say what they are most thankful for.
Some people want to make sure they say something profound. Some people can ramble on and on about their multitude of blessings while others find it difficult to think of anything at all, or even to be able to express what they can think of. It's all good – counting blessings shouldn't be an anxiety-producing event.
The big things are easy to remember to be thankful for: family, friends, health, a good job, a warm house to call home. But all of those big things are made up of a bunch of little ordinary things which we sometimes forget to acknowledge.
Sometimes the ordinary, little parts of life can be the most profound. Sometimes the little things are what keep us going, whether we recognize them or not. It's easy to forget how many blessings we receive each and every day, and those little things are actually what make up a life of gratitude.
I have so many little things to be thankful for. One day my car wouldn't start; I had to call Triple A to get a jump, and I drove to the auto shop where I had to leave my car overnight. I fell into the "why me?" and "why now?" trap briefly, as I often do when anything goes wrong, especially when it presents an inconvenience. But I also had to remember that I was lucky to have AAA and that I was able to get to a repair shop and that I could take care of the necessary repairs.
And then I remembered that even when something goes wrong, so many more times things go right, and I just take them for granted. So one day my car wouldn't start and my battery was dead, but I had to remember that out of one year, my car started 364 days, and the battery did its job 364 days of the year (in fact, the battery lasted for much longer than one year), all of which far outweighs the one day it didn't start.
Rarely do I remember to say a thank you every time my car starts, or every time the hot water comes out of the faucet when I turn it on, or every time the TV comes on when I press the on button. Sometimes I remember to be grateful when something big happens in my life, but I often forget to say a thank you for the little ordinary things that go right so often.
We all have trials and tribulations from time to time, and they can seem overwhelming. I've certainly had my share, and I know this has been a difficult year for many of us. But I think it's good to stay positive, and it helps to remember the little things that go right in that effort to stay positive. I find it's far preferable to live in a state of gratitude than to live in a perpetual pity party.
And I find that once my mind gets set to remembering the little things and times for which I feel blessed, it seems they just keep coming exponentially. I might be that person who rambles on and on at the dinner table when I try to express for what I am thankful this year.
It's not that hard to think in terms of blessings instead of troubles and challenges (or worse, curses), and it gets easier once you make it a practice. Now we all have a few days before we gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving, time to think about what to say when you're asked what you're thankful for.
Whatever you say, it can be just as important to be thankful for the little things that just simply go right every day as it is for the big things.
© 2022 Mel Makaw. Mel, local writer/photographer, has been looking on the bright side (and finding much gratitude to write about) for various publications since 1996; she welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.