I Choose to Be Thankful


Two weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday I was feeling particularly upset.  Overworked. Fatigued.  Frustrated.  My body felt like a wreck and I was emotionally and mentally drained. Everything got on my nerves and I was heading toward a private pity party.

Wait! Danielle. Stop complaining. You have so much to be thankful for.

For the next ten days every time I felt like complaining, I reminded myself to be thankful instead.

Wednesday – a full day on a blocked schedule with no breaks in between. I am completely worn out when I leave work.  Then I think about Thursday when I only see two classes and have an extended conference time. Woo Hoo!  Breathe. I get to catch up on my back log. I choose to be thankful!

Right upper arm – hurts like a new wound at the site of the scar where a growth was removed eight years ago when I reach to grab something on a shelve. Happens often. Doctor said there is no new growth. A Google search informed me that this is common. The nerve endings in the area of the scar are disconnected or something.  This will be a lifelong occurrence.  Okay then, let’s see.  I can still hold my beloveds in a bear hug. I can still lift my hand to praise The Lord. I choose to be thankful!

Need more sleep – hit the snooze all three times that morning. How I wish I could stay in bed, asleep!  One of my students, a bright and engaging young woman, appears to drag every morning that week. What’s wrong? I ask. “I’ve been going through some anxiety issues and am unable to sleep at night,” she replied.  My recommendation: chamomile or verbena tea, milk and honey, music…  Whoa! Here I am complaining and I’m getting at least six solid hours a night.  I choose to be thankful!

Right ankle – broken in a car accident when I was ten years old, buckles under as I walk.  I stumble.  This happens occasionally.  No heels this week Ms. Thing.  Podiatrist’s X-ray done a couple of months ago diagnosed arthritis and soft tissue damage in the area.  But, Ah!  I’ll be able to wear heels on Sunday, right? I am able to stand and walk? Dance at Zumba class?  I choose to be thankful!

30 minutes for lunch – I hate to eat in a rush. Bad for my genetic digestive issues. An older man, a teacher aide, comes into the teacher lounge. In a conversation about food he mentions being tired of eating soft foods, the only thing he’s able to process.  He initiated dental replacement back when he had a full time job and before turning 65. He got as far as partial implants. Medicare won’t pay the $10,000 cost of the remaining dentures and he can’t afford it on his own. I was chewing on a piece of chicken. I choose to be thankful!

Getting older is sometimes disconcerted. Why did I have to check the mirror when I was wearing my glasses and noticed all the grey eyebrow hairs? Wait! Once I “do” my brows, in pencil or gel, all you see are well arched brows.  Make up, what a blessing! I choose to be thankful!

Follow up doctor visit – apprehensive before I go. I am under medical observation because of a genetic illness in my blood that has the potential to become serious. My latest tests look great. Doctor gives me a clean bill of health, a six-month reprieve until my next visit.  I choose to be thankful!

Missing my husband – I burst into tears at the thought of how long we’ve been apart (I working in Texas and he in New Jersey). Lord! This is hard, but you have a plan. I know. Also, absence does make the heart grow fonder. I have a loving and fulfilling (albeit long-distance) relationship with a wonderful man. I look forward to every visit with great anticipation.  Our time together is so much richer particularly because we miss each other.

On this Thanksgiving morning, when I felt his presence asleep next to me, later when we busied ourselves in the kitchen preparing our version of the holiday meal that included Haitian style turkey legs and of course rice and beans, when we shared the festive meal in an intimate setting with my sister and two of her children and I prayed over the blessings of family, love, health, a beautiful home, a good job, great relationships, and so much more, I had very good reasons to be thankful!