Let’s Give Thanks

Let’s Give Thanks

Why is it important to give “thanks in all things”?

While routinely shopping just before Thanksgiving, I saw this decorative pumpkin with a beautiful succinct message “In All Things, Give Thanks”.  In general, I wait for after the holidays to buy items on sale. However, these words touched my heart so much that I reached out and bought it at the full price.

Once home, I happily put the “inspirational pumpkin” out in the living room mantle for Thanksgiving day.  After the holiday, I stowed it away in the holiday bin to be taken out next year. A few days later, remembering those words, I went down to the basement, took the “pumpkin” out of the bin and again put it in the living room mantle.  It’s as if, just by looking at its beautiful message, a feeling of blissfulness would wash over me. A feeling that everything in life is happening the way it is meant to happen, that things are in a place where they need to be and that I should be thankful for the juncture that my life has placed me in.

In life, I believe there are no coincidences. Every event is geared to make us grow. Everything happens for a reason. There is a reason as to why some people stay in our lives and some people leave. These reasons may be known to us right away, or not for a long time, or perhaps not in this lifetime. A very personal story I will share with you. I loved my mother’s wedding sari (sari is a traditional Indian dress) and always thought that when I got married I will wear it at my wedding reception. When that day came, I realized that I couldn’t wear that sari because the fabric had thinned down considerably over the years and I was afraid that I would trip on it and rip it. So I returned it to my mom when I saw her next.  A few years after and a couple of years ago, my mother passed away. In my culture, when a married woman passes on, she wears her wedding outfit on the day of her cremation. And guess what my mother had draped around her, her same wedding sari that I had wanted to wear at my wedding reception. That sari had rightfully belonged to my mother and with God’s will and blessings, it ended up where it should have always been. At that moment I was thankful and grateful that I was not able to wear it and had returned it to her. As mere mortals, since we do not know the big picture, it’s important that we give thanks in all things.

I believe, good things happen in our life to reward us for our good deeds and thoughts, and not so good things happen to teach us a lesson.  Have you noticed that similar bad things repeat themselves? That’s because these are opportunities given to us to change the ending of our story. When we look back at our life, we see many stories and events that did not turn out the way we would have liked, either because of us or because of somebody else. Since we have no control over other people and cannot change them, the only thing we can do is ask ourselves what we could have done differently. This is where we become the director and the main actor in our story. This is where we heroically change the ending of our story to a happy ending.  It’s as if we are allowed to travel back in time, relive the situations and respond to them in ways that we wish we had done then. So instead of complaining about happenings in our life, it’s important that we be thankful for getting opportunities to defeat dragons from our past.

Much scientific research has proven that people who are grateful and thankful are generally happier in their life.  They have better health, family life, friends and job situation. Studies have shown that if we take 5 minutes out of our day to write about 3 to 5 things that we are grateful for, over time, we will become more optimistic and happy, take better care of ourselves, have fewer visits to the doctor and live a longer life.

Whenever we are in angst over happenings in our life, blaming others, blaming ourselves and our fate, these 5 words “In All Things Give Thanks”, is a reminder to us that everything in our life is fine and will be fine. That we are not alone and that there is a higher power who is moving things in the right direction, the direction that is best for us.  Our only part in this entire saga is to TURN OFF the switch in our brain of discontentment and worry and to TURN ON the switch of thankfulness and gratitude.

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