As we are in the midst of the holidays, the season rushes all around us. We are flooded with marketing campaigns, shopping and sales, parties and events. Schedules get booked and our daily norm can become frenzied as we push onward through the festivities.
Over the last few months, life has changed since “coming home” not only to live at Wounded Knee Ranch, but to work from home. A certain quiet has settled in. A calm amongst the chaos; the busyness my business life used to hold has subsided. A steady, reflective way of living has begun to take place. And with it, a thankfulness has occurred. An approach from a heart of gratitude for the blessings God bestows, rather than living in the fast- paced cycle of striving for more and lacking what we need most.
This month held within it the Thanksgiving holiday. To be grateful means feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; to be thankful. This month was a true lesson for me. I always thought I was a grateful or thoughtful person. Being an idealist, I have always held appreciation for others, blessings, talents, hopes, dreams deep within my heart. But did I verbalize what was on my heart- did I share that gratitude aloud? Did the people I love know that I cherish them? Did they know their value in my life and in the lives of others? I questioned these things, because it had been brought to my attention through a series of friendships that had gone by the wayside or seemed to fade throughout the years. Had I not loved them well enough? It was time to mend what had been hurt by my lack of proper communication.
Over the last four weeks, I have started writing letters to friends, past coworkers, and many whom life circumstances carried us separate ways. This choice, this act of thankfulness has actually been challenging, at times heart wrenching. And I am not done yet. The letters, hand written with small calligraphy pens on metallic card stock, have been a journey of Love. Repentance. Forgiveness. A Humbling of Self, a Lifting Up of Another. What I’ve realized, is that for all the thoughts I openly share with others, sometimes my heart forgets to share how much my loved ones do mean to me. Despite differences, situations, or circumstances, a grateful heart can be discerned through any tribe and tongue.
As I write, some letters are a page, others could be a book! One thing I know, whether or not these letters ever receive a response, I have done what I can to Love. To Mend. To Make Peace. To Lift Up. But most of all, to thank another for journeying next to me, even if it was for a season.
After every letter writing session, a burden eases. Self protection gives way, and melts into compassion. My heart is filled with a bursting of gratitude for the one to whom I wrote. So much of the time, especially in the last five years, I found myself in a survival way of life, not knowing what was to come the next day; Self preservation if you will. The truth is, we don’t even know what will come any day that is before us. So, why not enter each day, our relationships, our everything with a heart of gratitude? And trust that God’s got the whole world in His Hands.
Oh, the things I’ve learned, I wish I understood 10 years ago! But my sweet friends, then I may have not journeyed to the place where I met and were blessed by you! We learn, we teach, we grow.
So, as I continue this journey through these letters, my hope is that Thanksgiving will not just last this quick, busy holiday season. My hope, is that Thanksgiving and gratitude become a fluent, daily language from my heart to yours. For this journey, I am grateful.
Life Verses this Month:
1 Thessalonians 5:1818 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:1515 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Philippians 4:66 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Psalm 28:77 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 100:44 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Hebrews 12:28-2928 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
2 Corinthians 4:15-1615 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 9:11-1211 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.