Tuesday, May 5, 2009

If you needed a reminder...

...about finding things in your life for which to be thankful, you need only to watch the new movie The Soloist. This is an amazing movie about a gifted musician who went from Julliard music student to Skid Row Schizophrenic. Mental illness stopped his forward momentum in life. He lived in danger of mugging and worse on the streets of Los Angeles every day. But the illness did not stop his gift. It did not stop the blessings that were to be given him in the form of an L.A. Times reporter.

Or read Kayleigh's Story. It is the story of an infant born too soon to a world of uncertainty in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). She weighed just one pound at birth, and almost a year later, she has had several surgeries and is still a resident of that NICU. Her family waits and visits and prays daily. There is emotion and heartache here, but there is also a message of blessings and hope. Miraculously, Kayleigh has survived to perhaps see her first birthday. Mabye longer. Her family sees the blessings, even through their stress and worry and pain.

Or visit Confessions of a CF (Cystic Fibrosis) Husband. He discusses the illness of his wife and the progress of his own baby who spent time in the NICU after being born 15+ weeks early. His thoughts and updates are honest and introspective, while conveying hope and thankfulness for the blessings he has received.

Life is tough and stressful at the best of times. Even the person who appears from the outside to "have it all" does not live without trying times. The important thing to remember is that the blessings come alongside the strife. They are usually intermingled, and may be overlooked. I was "downsized" in January, and have not yet been successful in locating new employment. That is stressful, and seemingly hopeless. But it is not without its blessings. I have a place to live, I have strong family ties, I am healthy. My spouse and children are healthy. And, bonus of bonuses, I have had more time to spend with them.

One of the best ways we can show thankfulness in recognizing our gifts is to give back. Give time, prayer, money, knowledge, expertise. Find ways to share whatever you have to give with others. It makes a difference. These bloggers mentioned above are sharing with us just by sharing their stories. They are sharing love, hope, and inspiration. I want to remember each day to share something as well.

What makes you thankful?
What blessings have you received in your life?