By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, it is inevitable that a column about the many blessings and daily abundance we have is in order.
With the everyday struggles we face each and every day, finding the cheer in life is sometimes a challenge. There are good days; there are bad days. And there are some days that you feel it was not worthwhile to get up and face the day.
Depression runs rampant during the holiday season for many. Financial commitments and the commercialization of Christmas weighs heavy on some who find little money to spare for those expected extravagant gifts on Christmas Day. With the ‘official’ Christmas shopping season kicking off on the day after Thanksgiving, those on limited and predictable incomes are often overwhelmed and find themselves bordering on depression rather than the joy that marks the season.
But there is always hope for a better tomorrow, even in the darkest and most heart-wrenching moments of our lives. There is always some joy somewhere, even when it takes a deep, soul-searching effort to find it.
Each of us have something to be thankful for, even if it means reminiscing about days gone by and remembering better times. Feeling alone can be offset by remembering the days when families seemed to have a closer bond with one another, when visiting cousins, aunts and uncles was more often than a funeral gathering and when people seemed to cope easier with hardships than in today’s society.
It is so often that we take for granted the everyday things of life — the laugh of a young child, the smile of an innocent infant as it begins to recognize those who care for it, the brilliant hues of a sunrise and a sunset reflecting against airbrushed clouds, and the overall beauty of the world we live in.
These small and insignificant parts of life are the very things that sustain us as we desperately search to find good when all seems bad. The simplest and most incidental acts of kindness can turn an otherwise bad day into one in which joy is shared — and spreads contagiously to others.
As I reflect upon the many good things in my life, I am thankful for the memories of my childhood, gathering with aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grandmother for a family celebration that entailed the traditional holiday feasts, family gatherings with the Hedricks’ at an old fire tower off west Ky. 80 where we picnicked and played and enjoyed one another’s company and now annual family reunions with the Miller family. I am thankful for the structure and teachings that were passed down from my ancestors — of faith in God and faith in good.
I am thankful for my family, past and present, and look forward to watching my grandgirls grow up. Being a grandparent is a blessing in itself and the announcement that my daughter and son-in-law are expecting their first child in late spring is another incentive to cherish life.
My job and my co-workers here at The Sentinel-Echo are another facet of my life for which I am extremely grateful. These folks here are like family and make coming to work a pleasant experience.
But the utmost thanks is given to our Creator, who sees our faults and shortcomings and loves us unconditionally. It is only through that divine capability bestowed by His own sacrifice and unwavering love that we have the ability to do the same. I am grateful that I was raised with Christian values in a family who truly loves one another.
Although the road I have traveled in life has been far from “the straight and narrow,” even those experiences have played a role in the person that evolved and developed into who I am today. Even in the bad times, there is something to be thankful for.