Happy Sunday, or whatever day it is where you are at! Another week passed us by and more things have happened. They always do seem to happen whether we want them to or not. Between birthday parties, 50 plus years of memories at a local theater, and struggling to get volunteers to help out at the library, sometimes it feels hard to take a breath. As a result, we here at the Guide believe in focusing on the positive aspects of life. The Guide, for the last five weeks, has been celebrating all the things that we are thankful for. And so it’s time for another week as the Guide Celebrates 70 Days of Thanksgiving week six.

Check out our week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, and week 5 that preceded this. You can definitely get the flavor for this series there.  What was the impetus behind our celebration of all the beautiful things in our life? Taking a look around these days, all I could see around us were people unhappy. We yelled at people who thought differently than us. We advocated for people to do crazy things. And all the while we unfriended people who had been a part of our lives for years. I desperately wanted to see something different out there.

And so I started taking a look around at what made people happy, or how we changed the negative things in our lives into positive. The one thing everyone spoke of when it came to turning around one’s attitude all included something about being grateful, or thankful for the various things in our lives.

Far too often we forget about the amazing things around us and allow us to be sucked into the negativity that permeates the world around us. I wanted to change the world and change how I viewed the world. And I realized that begins with how I view the world around me.

Of course, when I came to this notion of thankfulness, I was not going to advocate ignoring true evil in the world. But honestly, we should all be able to tell the difference between Benito Mussolini and a person who may have voted for Donald Trump. The Trump voter could be evil, but it wouldn’t be solely because they voted for him. Just as a Hillary voter could be evil, but not simply because they voted for her.

I just wanted to see a way past the anger and into grace. I think far too often we consider grace to only exist in religion. But truthfully grace animates and shines a beautiful light into the world. It allows us to balance our own hypocrisies with our neighbor’s foibles and realize that were it not for grace, we all would be in deep trouble.

And so I want to extend the grace to you this week and remember all of the things I am thankful for, including the bad things in life. Because sometimes the most beautiful times in our lives come out of the most difficult. So without further ado, I present to you 70 Days of Thankfulness, week six.

70 Days Of Thankfulness: Week Six

I love that these girl’s middle names are Grace and Hope. And it suits them.

38) I am thankful for grace.

Maybe this is a bit easy to be thankful for this week given I spent the last paragraph being thankful for it. But I don’t think being thankful for grace is a cop-out. Grace means undeserved favor or kindness. And the people who truly love us offer us grace in so many different ways. Without grace, we would not survive.

Think of all the times you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Or getting that first kiss from your loved one in the morning where they ignored your awful morning breath to kiss you anyway. Or how about the co-workers who have had to deal with us when we have had failing marriages, our kids have gotten into terrible trouble, and our lives feel like they are falling apart. These people pick up our slack and enable us to carry on.

39)  I am thankful for hope.

It’s pretty crazy but one of my favorite films is The Shawshank Redemption, which you can read my review of the film on a previous post. It tells the tale of a felon, Andy Duphresne, who can maintain his capacity for hope despite being locked away in a prison for 20 years of his life.  Told beautifully by Frank Darabont and acted beautifully by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman (written by Stephen King) it touches my heart every time.  It reminds me of the beautiful human capacity for hope which lights a path through all of the darkness.  In my darkest of moments, hope brings me through.  It makes me realize this moment only exists as one wrinkle in time.  And as Andy states, ” . . . hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

40)  I am thankful for love.

I don’t necessarily mean this in the romantic sense of the world.  And I don’t mean love as the feeling that happens to someone.  I mean love as a verb.  Love in action truly represents beauty.  Love moves us to see others as more than cells and impulses.  When we recognize the beauty in others our love shines.  We love when we selflessly reach out to people in need.  I love Shakespeare’s Sonnet that refers to love as “an ever-fixed mark, which looks on tempests and is never shaken.”  Because real love gives and doesn’t require a return.  Love transcends time and circumstance.  It moves to action.  Love does not passively happen to someone.  Love moves.  This is the love for which I am thankful.

41)  I am thankful for road trips.

Getting out into the open road, listening to music, and maybe a little wind blowing through your hair moves me.  I can’t exactly describe what it does.  But it allows me to be alone with my thoughts.  It’s not unlike nature.  The highway and scenery pass you by as you go mile after mile.  And I get to be alone with my thoughts.  I admit sometimes I think too much.  But sometimes it’s hard to get out of the cacophony of noises that surround us.  And in the midst of all that noise, it becomes hard to quiet my brain.  Add in social media, smartphones, and the like and I stress out 24/7 about one thing or another.  Road trips allow me to stop that noise in its tracks.  Maybe I add a little soundtrack in the background.  But I choose the soundtrack.  I get to let the thoughts come to me rather than being ruled by outside forces.  If you ever need to give yourself some time away to think, I would recommend a good road trip every time.

42) I am thankful for an education.

Every person knows the difference between wisdom and knowledge.  Whether knowledgeable people are wise is up for debate.  But I do think we benefit from the knowledge we obtain.  Whether this knowledge is practical, like changing a tire, or theoretical, like nuclear fission, knowledge can bring to the world the ability to be a well-informed citizenry as well as technological innovations the world would have never dreamed about decades earlier.  Education brought me to the finest authors as well as the most amazing thinkers.  And an education taught me to form my own opinions based upon facts and reasoning.  Can you imagine what the world would be like if we did not pass down the education given to us?  I would shudder at the thought.

43) I am thankful for the rain.

Maybe it’s a thing about being in California and never getting enough of it.  But there is something just so amazing and peaceful about the rain.  I could sit indoors and just listen to the pattering of the rain on the roof all day.  Or I could be in my car and see the rain trickle down the windshield.  Rain gives me inner peace in a way that few things do.  But beyond all that rain causes growth.  You can plant seeds and nourish plants all you want, but without a little rain you usually end up with nothing.  As much as I love California, going to a state like Oregon where everything glows green makes me a tad jealous.  Rain also washes things.  It’s a purifying agent to washing the dirt and the grime away.  And in its ice form rain practices a whole other kind of magic.

44) I am thankful for having my five senses relatively intact.

I am sure you have heard the story of the five men who were there trying to describe an elephant.  Because they only had one of the senses, their ability to accurately describe the animal diminished.  I don’t think about all of the senses all the time but truthfully they work in conjunction with each other.  And any good chef worth anything will let you know that they prepare a dish to try to excite all of the senses.  This means bright and vivid colors, deep and inviting smells, sensuous textures, pleasing tastes and a pleasing sound as it goes down your mouth and into your stomach.  We balance all of those things when we think about good food. But the same goes for the rest of life.

Without the five senses working in unison, we would miss out on so much.  It’s not that some aspect couldn’t try to compensate for it.  It’s just that things would be very different in that regard.  I love having all five senses.  And I love knowing how amazing they are individually as well as how beautifully they work in unison.  I am so grateful that this, for now, is the case.  I realize that my tastebuds may weaken and my hearing my go as well as my sense of smell.  But for now, I just want to express my thanks for being able to have them all and working beautifully.

Continue The Conversation –

I know this week I focused on some of the more ethereal concepts like hope, love, and grace; but I balanced it by more concrete things like rain and the senses through which we experience the universe.  What kinds of things impressed you this week you were thankful for?  How are you enjoying this “Days of Thankfulness” series?  Was there anything in particular that you would miss out on if one of your senses were diminished?  And what are your thoughts on love, grace, and hope?  Maybe no easy answers but I love hearing from you about those things.

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If you liked this post, please hit like at the end of the post, and don’t forget to follow me here at the guide.  All email subscribers will be given access to the Dad Rules. Access is in the bi-weekly newsletter that we create.  We give out the password there.  Thanks for stopping by.  And don’t forget to think about the things you are thankful for this week.  I guarantee your week will be better.

Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life