As Thanksgiving Approaches... Angry No More
As Thanksgiving approaches, I realize I have had a change of heart in the past year, and I am so grateful. I spent many years being embittered and angry, deeply resentful of the hand life dealt me. "Why me, God?" I asked. The truth was, I was angry at God. I believed God existed, but I didn't trust him. I didn't anticipate a good future -- in fact, I didn't anticipate living until age 30.
This past week, my mother paid me a great compliment: "You are not angry anymore," she said. Suddenly, I realized she was right. The change sneaked up on me so gradually that I hadn't even realized it: The deep bitterness and anger has been wiped away.
It feels like my soul has been washed clean. A fresh start. The anger was so corrosive and it touched everything, particularly my relationships with family members. Now, I am able to express gratitude towards my loved ones and gratitude towards God.
I think of gratitude as a practice. It could be called an attitude, or a mindset, but I think it has more to do with action. I make lists of things for which I am grateful on a regular basis. I write prayers thanking God in my journal. I pray before bed and it begins with "Thank you that I am safe. Thank you that I have a home."
I try -- try! -- to remember to say "thank you" to the significant people in my life. For the small and large things that they do for me. Often, yes, I fall miserably short. But I never used to say "thank you" -- and I realized that and have tried to mend my ways. And it is not just the significant people in my life -- I thank waitresses and gas station attendants and cashiers. It is good practice.
So how did I escape the anger? I think it came from turning my life over to God's good care and allowing him to change my heart. Someone much, much greater and more powerful than me is control, is watching over me and keeping me safe. This doesn't mean I won't have a relapse in the future -- but it does mean that God will walk with me though any future relapse, guiding me and comforting me.
I am looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with loved ones. I have so much to be thankful for this year -- a fresh start, health, family and friends, work, a life that is growing richer day by day. A deepening spiritual life, most of all.
You see, my life has been touched by God's grace -- and now, all the pain and heartache has been touched, too. I see the pain and heartache fitting into an overarching narrative of redemption. What once seemed meaningless to me now has meaning. My story has been redeemed.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am not angry anymore... instead I am filled with joy. It is going to be a great holiday!