A Muddy Thanksgiving
When many people were at home with their families for Thanksgiving, watching football, eating turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce and pie, I was camping amidst the red rocks of Utah. I was working for ten straight days in the wilderness. I was already disappointed to be working over Thanksgiving, but what made it worse was that a massive storm walloped us for three days. This was a doozy of a storm too.
With air temperatures around 38 degrees, the wind was howling, blowing rain sideways and destroying our tarp shelters. Trying to staying dry, or warm for that matter, was futile. Not only were we cold and wet, but the loose red earth quickly turned into a muddy soup. Anywhere I stepped my boots sank deep into the mud. I was miserable.
And I couldn’t help but think of all my family at home, gathered together, enjoying pie and beer and football. It was easy to feel self pity. And I did pity myself as I made my best attempt to cook dinner, sitting in the mud with rain and wind whipping my face.
And then, right there, as I was about to take my first bite of potato and broccoli cheese soup, I had a thought. “I have so much to be thankful for.” And then I thought how thankful I was for the rain gear I was wearing, the hot meal I was eating, and the fact that my sleeping bag was dry. And then I thought, “I’m gonna have a choice this week. I can choose to grumble about all the things I am missing out on, or I can choose to be thankful for what I have. It’s my choice.”
So right there, sitting in the mud, I decided to be thankful.
And my whole attitude for the rest of the week changed.
For ten days of difficult work, that’s what I spent my time thinking about, meditating about. No matter the conditions in our lives, whether stormy or pleasant, we have a choice to be thankful.
I believe that an attitude of gratitude is the single most powerful way to be happy in life. It’s not rocket science, people who consistently give thanks are consistently happier and more content than those who do not. There will always be things we can grumble about. And there will always be things, no matter how bleak life is, that was we can be thankful for. It’s your choice.