When being thankful is difficult


I am feeling compassion this morning for those whom the holidays is a cruel reminder of a lost loved one. Perhaps this was the first thought that some of us had this morning, and you greeted this Thanksgiving day with tears. Compassion stirs within me for all those who are separated from ones they love. In many cases, those who are divorced have arrangements where perhaps one parent won’t be able to see their children today. Some of us also have sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, and other family and friends that serve in the armed forces, and aren’t able to be home.

For some the holidays serves as an agonizing reminder of what doesn’t seem right about their lives. Sometimes our greatest regrets and griefs and triggered and punctured during the holiday season.

I understand and have felt many of the above feelings, and I feel great sorrow for those of you feeling any of these things this morning. Perhaps there is nothing more difficult than to be bombarded with messages of thankfulness and family, while you are stricken with emotional pain.

And I think of those who awakened on this day when everyone is supposed to be grateful and happy, while you are caught in the clutches of depression, and the frustration over how depression is no respecter of holidays.

Where is my Superman cape? What is the right combination of words I can string together to ease your pain? But alas, all I am is a man who shares your sorrow, and will light a candle in thoughts of you today.

This human journey is filled with joys we will never forget, and hurts we wish we could. We laugh, we cry, we celebrate, we grieve. Sometime we are stuck in this strange place where we don’t want to die, but we don’t want to live.

So, it sucks but it’s okay to feel what you feel. Perhaps this day will be difficult. Perhaps an unexpected joy will show up unannounced. And when this day is over, we will sign up for life again tomorrow. We know there is a time for everything. That’s the bad news. But that’s the good news.

“Do you ever feel like life is a slow and painful process of being torn apart, limb by limb? But then aren’t there also those times when something amazing and beautiful happens in life that you never expected?

Just when life delivers a blow that feels like it will be the end of you, turns out it actually helped unravel a little bit more of who you really are.

One moment a tidal wave of change turns you life upside down into something you hardly recognize, but then strangely provides a clearing for you to create the life you really wanted in the first place.

Sometimes life is a path of self-destruction, a course of sabotaging your relationship with yourself and others… that is, until you finally crack, break, and hit rock-bottom from where your journey of true healing begins.

And just when everything you were so certain of in life, everything you placed your trust, faith and security in comes crashing to the ground, but then one day sifting through the rubble of your life you find a couple pieces to put together in a different way, add a few new pieces and you’re on your way to building something new, filled with possibilities.

And yes, there are those gut-wrenching moments when life strikes you down with a heartache so deep that feels you can never recover from, but then there’s that song, breeze, sunset, hug, or something you catch out of the corner of your eye that mysteriously let’s you know you’re going to be okay… and you laugh even as the tears of heartache fall.

Do you see what I’m getting at here? There is a time for everything – that’s the bad news… that’s the good news.

Sometimes you mourn, sometimes you dance.
Sometimes it feels like it’s all getting away from you, sometimes it comes together in ways you never imagined were possible.
Sometimes you give your heart, sometimes you withhold it.
Sometimes you search, sometimes you give up.
You hold one, you let go.
Sometimes you’re the one delivering the blow, sometimes you’re the one applying the balm.
Sometimes you break the silence, sometimes you step back and say nothing.

Do you see?

Stretch out a continuum between love and hate, between peace and war, and realize that you will not be spared. Life – you can run but you can’t hide. Sometimes you’re the one instigating it, sometimes it is callously and randomly thrust upon you without your choosing.

But I’m asking you to keep the faith. You’ve heard it said, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” But what I’m telling you is that everything is okay right now! Everything is truly okay in this moment, and in the next moment, and in the next. You’re saying, “Not sure what definition of ‘okay’ you’re using here!!”

All I can tell you is that in every moment of your life everything is okay in a way that only you can discover and know for yourself. I’m just asking you to have a little faith that okay is always there for you to find. In the living and dying, loving and hating, laughing and crying, dancing and mourning, tearing and mending, brokenness and building… it will be there. Sometimes you’ll have to fight for it or be still enough to hear it or feel it but it will be there. Like a light breeze across your face, something will mysteriously whisper that you are loved, and tell you the story of how goodness and beauty prevail.”

– Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Religion-Free Bible

Latest Comments

  1. John says:

    What my wife and I have been through is contained in Psalms 35. Our so-called family members have done everything short of actually killing both my wife and I after our jobs were taken away along with our home being foreclosed on. There is literally not a square inch of clear skin on our backs that doesn’t bear the scars of abuse, evil gossip, condemnation and so on. This is the first year in our 32 year marriage that we can’t celebrate this holiday because my wife has to work. Even if she didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving, there isn’t enough money to buy our dinner anyway. I can’t find a job because employers don’t want to hire a 52 year old man and my wife and I live in poverty.

    My wife and I have been Christians for a combined time of 60+ years and I feel that God has turned His back on my wife and I and forsaken us. Our prayers go unanswered and Gods word seems hollow and lifeless. There are times I regret living as long as I have just to see family, friends and Christians turn their backs on us and torture us with their evil, self-righteous judgments. I can deal with the loss of our jobs and our home stolen away by foreclosure, but I have had my fill of the evil Christians and family around us that spread such evil talk about us. I’ve asked several Christians for help and everyone I have reached out to says, “God will take care of your needs”. But what they are really saying to us is, be warmed and filled but get the F%#$ away from me”. I have to wonder if God can work in the lives of oppressed and hated Christians (my wife and I) when their faithless and hateful Christian brothers and sister are so evil?

    My wife, somehow, manages to stay positive- we pray and are trying to remain faithful but I believe my faith is slipping away. We don’t have children, they were taken away by miscarriage over 20 years ago….(it was a set of twins). God’s hand has been extremely heavy on my wife and I for so long, and I have no idea why. It’s impossible to minister to these evil people that have caused us so much harm. Actually I gave up on them….let them swim in their cess-pool. For decades, we blessed them and in our time of need, they cursed us.

    If this continues, it’s my hope that God just takes us away.

    Sorry for venting. This is not usually like me. But I had to get it off my chest.

  2. Rev Jan Proeber says:

    Thank you.

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