True Thanksgiving (Hey Girl, Hey! Nov 2021)

A lot of folks said 2020 was pretty bad. I think somebody even wrote a song called “Eff 2020” or something to that effect. Well, in my opinion, 2021 was a MUCH more hellish year, and as she roars to a close (only a “she” could be THIS furious), I can’t say that I’m sad to see her go!
So much happened this year that I just NEVER saw coming—an unexpected divorce; a second, more deadly wave of Covid-19, a surgery with serious complications, and a move to top it all off. As I sit reflecting on this year, I am struck by two thoughts:
I pray 2022 is kinder, 2. I am so THANKFUL to God for His faithfulness throughout 2021!!

When you face one hard challenge after another, it is so easy to begin to feel bitterness and resentment bubble up—that is a natural human response. It’s hard to understand WHY life seems to be dragging you through the mud like a limp rag doll, but… as I often remind myself, things COULD always be worse. I realized that even when things got hardest for me, there were still folks who had it even harder—there are folks who would love to trade their problems for mine, and would do it in a split second. Like those folks who moved from their home out onto the streets, or the surgery patient who had complications they DIDN’T wake up from, or the wife who lost a husband to this second wave of Covid-19 instead of divorce—the list goes on and on.

It’s so easy to focus on the hard things. The things that didn’t turn out the way we planned. Don’t we deserve to pout a little? Jeremiah wrote a WHOLE BOOK of Lamentations. I should get some “laments” too, right?! Wrong.  I am the most FORTUNATE of women! I can be nothing if not grateful. If you are reading this and your life is intertwined with mine, then you have witnessed the hardships of my life and then stood in awe at the miracles that bloomed in tear-soaked places.

Here’s one piece of wisdom I have come to know: bitterness chokes blessings & gratitude grows them. Everyone, no matter how desperate, miserable, pitiful, etc. can find SOMETHING to be thankful for. If you are alive, well that’s something right there!

So when life is hard, find reasons to be thankful. Actively think about how situations that seem awful just might be working for your good. For example, if I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that I would not have ever given up on trying to fix a marriage that was less than I deserved. Being a scared patient dependent on another surgeon was humbling and only made me double down on my commitment to compassionate care. Seeing so much death around me reminded me just how precious our lives and loved ones are.

This year, when I sit down to dinner at my Daddy’s house—a house full of vaccinated family members—it’s gonna be such a meaningful Thanksgiving. I will be super thankful for aaalll the good food (cause I like to eat!), but even more, my heart will be full of true Thanksgiving for all that God has kept me through this year! What are you thankful for this year? Comment on this blog post!

XOXO, Dr. Joy

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