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A THANKSGIVING TWIST

For 2021 . . . for most of us, a year of many blessings, accompanied by significant challenges. For some of us, thankfulness and gratitude seem elusive this year. Today, a Thanksgiving-themed post from our teammate, Jaime Hlavin, that is helping me focus more on what is good in life than what isn’t. Enjoy ~ John.

For years, the trend on social media has been to spend each day of the month of November posting about something for which you were thankful. And to be honest, the trend always made me laugh because you could scroll back a handful of days on many individuals’ feeds and find a string of rather ungrateful rants leading up to the “Month of Thanksgiving Posts.” Regardless, the trend held steady.

Yet, I can’t help but notice that the past two Thanksgiving seasons, my feeds seem absent of those types of daily gratitude posts—especially this year. My best guess as to a reason why is that the past 20 months have been very challenging and posting things to be thankful for can 1) seem difficult because times are still tough for many or 2) seem insensitive to those who have suffered or are suffering.

This pandemic life (Post-pandemic life? Endemic life? I’m not even sure what to call it!) we are living right now is comparable to an old, unreliable car: We crank the engine for a few seconds. It finally turns over and fires to life, drives a few hundred feet only to stall out again. In Spring of 2021, we got some momentum as cases dropped, therapeutics and preventatives became more available, and then BOOM—new variant. Cases spiked. Then they receded and school returned in person. But quarantines and surges yet again cause the forward motion to stall the car again. It’s difficult to be excited about life because there is just this general sense of “will things ever go back to normal?!” It’s hard to muster up Thanksgiving gratitude and holiday cheer.

I realize this is an unconventional way to begin a Thanksgiving blog post, but bear with me a few more moments. I attended a funeral of a friend last weekend: A 43-year-old father of two children ages ten and five. It was a very rough week for me and my husband as we loved this guy like a brother. As the sadness came in waves throughout the week leading up to the funeral, the deadline to write this blog post loomed and I wondered if I’d be able to muster up the wherewithal to write anything encouraging in light of my grief.

While the church overflowed with people whose sorrow ran very, very deep, I sat in amazement. Family and friends shared countless stories of how their lives had been forever changed by our friend. They regaled us with tales of his endless humor and gigantic heart for those he loved and for those who hadn’t yet met Jesus. Each person expressed profound gratefulness for the times they were able to share life with him. While his life circumstances were far from idyllic, the way he chose to live and exemplify Christ made everyone he interacted with so thankful to know him.

So, I’m essentially throwing a little twist on the typical Thanksgiving sentiment. In addition to being grateful for our blessings, let’s be the kind of people that others are thankful for. Daily make choices that bless your friends and family and exemplify Christ in ways that make a difference in those around you. The celebration of my friend’s life has encouraged me to be that kind of person—that’s my hope for you, too!

All of us here at Converge Coaching are thankful and grateful for you, and as always, we’re rooting and praying for you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Jaime

John Opalewski

Author John Opalewski

John Opalewski is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. He served as a pastor for fifteen years. He has worked in the business world for nearly two decades, serving in multiple leadership roles. John's experience as a leader in both the church and business arenas has made him a sought-after international speaker, coach and mentor.

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