Practicing Gratitude in Hard Seasons
Practicing gratitude in hard seasons can be, well, hard.
That less-than-astounding conclusion seems obvious, but I don’t think about such things when life is good. Only when challenges slap me upside the head do I return to practicing gratitude in hard seasons.
Such has been the case this November, a month that catches me by surprise every single year.
One minute the trees are a blaze of color as I get ready for Halloween trick-or-treaters. The next minute the trees are bare, and I’m scrambling to put together a grocery list for our Thanksgiving feast.
This year the surprise was particularly jarring because of the hard season I’ve already alluded to. Word came in early October that my uncle—who supported my father throughout his struggle with multiple sclerosis and was a constant presence in my childhood—had entered hospice care. A few weeks later, he was gone. I was in bed with a pinched nerve when the news of his death arrived. The realization that I couldn’t attend his funeral and honor his life crushed my soul.
I was about to tumble into a pit of depression—a condition that has rarely reared its ugly head in my life—when God brought to mind a practice my husband and I first used decades ago while caring for our son with special needs. More recently, it proved useful while caring for my mother during her final years of life.
It’s an easy practice yet powerful, though it requires intentionality to reap its full benefits. So what exactly have I been doing to keep from tumbling into that nasty pit?
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Jolene Philo is the author of several books for the caregiving community. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. Sharing Love Abundantly With Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and Amazon. See Jane Dance!, the third book in the West River cozy mystery series, which features characters affected by disability, was released in October of 2023.
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