It is a quiet morning at my house the Friday after Thanksgiving. The refrigerator is filled with leftovers and the crowd has gone home. I walk through my silent house, surveying the cleaning needed after the celebration. My eyes focus on the living room carpet and analyze what I see. Some would say that the carpet needs vacuuming, but I see reminders of four generation’s footsteps. The kitchen counter is stacked with clean dishes to put away and I am grateful that we all had as much delicious food as we wanted to eat. None of the chairs are under the dining room table where they belong. I am grateful for family and friends who sat in those chairs to celebrate thankfulness together. An older family member’s empty coffee cup is sitting on the table in the den. I guess some folks would be irritated she didn’t put it into the sink, but I am happy that she visited, even though it makes her very tired.
I’ve heard it said that thanksgiving is more than just a day, it is a lifestyle. To consistently be grateful for what we have in our lives sometimes requires an adjustment of how we manage our own expectations. I appreciate a clean house, but that is not what I have now. My choices were to clean the house and ignore my guests; or to sacrifice sleep and clean my house. Instead I made the decision to enjoy my guests, get some rest, and tackle cleaning the next day.
Choices need to be made in life. We each are in the driver’s seat of our own lives and can chose the road that leads to our gratitude. There will be potholes along the way, maybe even a flat tire. Josh Shipp once said, “You either get bitter or you get better. It's that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.”
My messy house belongs to me, but so do the memories of a shared meal in honor of thankfulness. I can choose what I focus on. I choose to focus on gratitude. Life will never be perfect. It will be messy, and we will make mistakes along the way. There is also gratitude along the way.