Giving Thanks, Finding Hope

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Image found on Explore Georgia.

Thanksgiving is a time when we reflect on all the blessings that have been given to us throughout the year. It is a beautiful holiday because it fosters the humility and gratitude that all of us fortunate people need to have.

We are grateful to have the chance to get a college education. We are grateful for those people who believed in us when others did not, and maybe when we did not believe in ourselves either. We are grateful for family and friends, food, water and clothing. We wake up in the morning and are ultimately grateful to be alive.

However, this particular Thanksgiving is special.

With all the turmoil going on in the world right now, we could use a little time to think about what really matters. With all the violence, sexual harassment scandals, and other negative things going on, I think we can all agree that watching the news has become a very depressing event. Not that being informed isn’t important, but a constant feed of despair is not healthy on any level.

We need to smile more and, especially, we need to laugh more. We can easily forget how important it is to laugh and make sure we are laughing at least once a day. Whether it be joking around with a friend, watching a funny TV show or movie– whatever. A good laugh is very important to keep our minds clear of junk that isn’t important.

A lot has happened in my life since last Thanksgiving. I would say that I am more reflective and I notice my blessing more. I have had the pleasure of helping out people who are less fortunate. Very little in this world makes you happier than doing that. I encourage everybody to make that a goal. Actually, I don’t like the word “encourage.” Make that your goal. I can guarantee that no matter what you do, you will walk away joyful.

I am thankful for the little things in life. Even though we can’t see them now, I am always glad to see a bunch of beautiful flowers or a single flower that I can admire. I am thankful for the lawn mower that I hear starting in the distance and the ten o’clock Tuesday tornado siren that tells me the alarms are still working. I am thankful that I have the chance to know my grandparents and listen to their stories. I am grateful that I have the hands that I need to write my own.

I am also thankful for the big things in life. I am thankful that I have the ability to make new discoveries and dream new dreams. I am thankful for my family and their support. I am thankful that I live in a country that celebrates basic human freedoms. I am thankful for food, water and medical care. I am thankful for waking up today. Sometimes my mission is not always clear, but I thank God for reminding me to trust Him anyway.

Giving thanks is finding hope. No matter what our situations are, we can all find healing in counting our blessings. “Thank you” is a powerful phrase that can brighten the darkest of days. “Thank you” reminds us that life is beautiful. “Thank you” reminds us that there are better things ahead.  

This Thanksgiving, I challenge everyone to think of someone they are thankful for or someone who has impacted their life in some way and give that person a call, send them a text (or, even better, write them a letter… hey, that rhymed!), or visit with them.

I would also challenge everyone to give back. Whether that be donations, time, or simply a smile or a friendly word, anything is something if you do it with love. In case you missed the last post, here is a website that offers an opportunity for giving back: quad-cities.toysfortots.org.

Finally, we want to thank everyone who has read and/or contributed to this blog. We really appreciate your support. You guys are amazing! We hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or click the “Leave a comment” button at the top left of the post, under the author’s image.

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Author: Elodie R. Bouwens

I am currently in my second year at Black Hawk College. I'm a 2016 graduate of Geneseo High School. Besides writing, I love to walk long distance (goal is 20+ miles), bake, watch The Walking Dead, and read. I absolutely love to write, and I'm excited to write for the Chieftain. If you have any ideas for a topic or story, feel free to contact me at ebouwens@mymail.bhc.edu.