Thursday, November 23, 2017

If It Were Easy, I Wouldn't Do This

One of the things we try to do every year on the blog is author a Thanksgiving post.  But, what do you do when inspiration isn't there?  What happens when something you usually enjoy feels more like an obligation or a duty than anything else?  How do you get motivated to accomplish something?  What if you aren't feeling particularly grateful at the moment and you're feeling guilty about not having all of the 'warm fuzzies' you should have for all of the truly good things in your life?

This has been our favorite holiday for a very long time.  We will celebrate with family on Saturday, which is wonderful.   But, what did the two of us do today?   Well, today we moved our smaller high tunnel, Eden.  We emptied a water tub for the Winter.  We did some laundry - which, by the way, is still out on the line (oops).  We brought scraps to the hens.  In other words, we worked on the farm.  And it was tempting to feel a bit cheated in some ways.  Where is the "holiday feeling" that Tammy and I cherish so much?  Why don't I have that glow of gratitude burning brightly like I am supposed to?
Hobnob and Bree are NOT looking too pleased in this picture....
Over the last couple of days, I have spent a little time reflecting on prior Thanksgivings and I realized that these feelings are not new to me.  Just last year, I titled our blog post Trials, Tribulations and Thanks.  Of course, there is the element of fun because I could use alliteration in the title.  But, on re-reading the post, I realized that I was struggling with similar thoughts.  My approach in 2016 was to go back to the people who mean so much to us for inspiration.  People who support the farm.  People who help when help was needed.  People who remain friends, no matter what.  A family that continues to love us.  Again, no matter what.  I concluded,

"We cannot repay, we can only give thanks"

But, there is still no denying that I was struggling a bit trying to get where I wanted to go.  Yet, I managed to get there by considering the wonderful people in our lives.  What will it take to get there this year?

Two years ago, I find that I may have again been in a similar state of mind.  The title of this one was What Are You Going to Do About It?  That post was motivated by my own feelings of being powerless and overwhelmed by the state of the world we live in.   I re-read that post looking for inspiration and actually found myself wondering how I could even hope to compete with what I wrote.

The contents of the 2015 post are wonderful.  I made myself read the old post again - carefully.  And I hit this line:

"By giving thanks for the good things, I am reminded of their value and worth.  These are the things that can be part of what sustains me when times are difficult."

That's when I realized - giving thanks is not always easy.  In fact, being truly grateful can be extremely difficult.  However, if I can manage to find gratitude, it has the power to lift me when I am down.

Soon after that I came to the conclusion that if gratitude were easy, it would not be nearly so wonderful and fulfilling as it is when we work to give meaningful thanks.

Here I was.  Waiting for the warm glow of Thanksgiving to just pop up and make me feel good.  Hoping for the cheap happy ending that magically appears, despite all logic.   I was wasting time when I could have achieved what I wanted with just a little bit of effort.

Is it possible that a significant part of the beauty is in the struggle?  Perhaps the rewards are proportional to the effort?

Let's go back to how Tammy and I spent our Thanksgiving:
  • We turned off the alarm this morning and decided we could sleep just a little bit longer.  It was something we both needed and we both appreciated.
  • The sun was out all day long.  There was little to no wind.  The temperatures hit a "balmy" 49 degrees F.  Frankly, given some of the weather we've had in recent weeks, it felt wonderful.  It would have been a shame to spend it inside.
  • Tammy took some time and made some rolls.  She did it because she wanted to do something nice that she new I would like.  Warm rolls out of the oven.  Yum!
  • We still had a couple of tomatoes in the walk-in cooler that we had harvested 4 weeks ago.  They were hanging on just enough to be useful.  We also had some lettuce.  And we had some bacon.  So, we had BLT's for lunch.  On Thanksgiving?  Hey, they were Gold Medal tomatoes.   On Thanksgiving.  That IS special.
  • We went and took the car down to Sweet Water Marsh mid-morning.  This year we made a habit out of going to a particular boat access and enjoying seeing the marsh on a semi-regular basis.  It's a place where there is no school, unless we want to bring it with us.  There is no farm, unless we want to bring it with us.  There is just nature.  And us.  We can talk about the frogs in the marsh or our hopes and dreams.  It has been a liberating escape for us and we hadn't been down there for over six weeks.  We went today.
  • And, we moved a high tunnel today without too many hitches in the process.  We have a few more things to do tomorrow to finish, but none of it is terribly serious.  We got to work together.  The weather was perfect for moving Eden.  Two people and less than four hours of work.  Building moved.  Not bad. 
  • I participated in a couple of pleasant email conversations with some fine people in philately circles and farming circles.
  • I was able to rub out a couple of knots in Tammy's shoulders while we took a rare moment to watch a little football.  It helped both of us to relax.
  • ALL of the cats (supervisors) on the farm were super-friendly today without being pains in the neck.  That is something of an accomplishment in late November, when they all start getting a bit needier.
Gold Medal tomatoes can get BIG

Today wasn't just a good day, it was a GREAT day.  I was able to spend time doing things with my best friend.  We accomplished a huge task that had been weighing on both of our minds.  That task did not prevent us from doing other things we wanted to do.  We treated ourselves to some things that we don't normally do.  And... we did all of this without getting horribly stressed and feeling like we were running around every minute of the day.

Here's the part about today I didn't list.  I started this post yesterday.  I read the prior year posts yesterday.  I recognized that gratitude requires some effort on my part.  And, I spent today working to see all of the good things that were going on.  And I made sure that I made a mental note of everything I should be thankful for.

And now, I feel the way I wanted to feel when I started writing our annual Thanksgiving post.

It wasn't necessarily an easy process.  But, then again, I believe there is less value in easy.  I also believe I wouldn't write a Thanksgiving post every year if it were as easy as just listing a bunch of things and saying I am thankful for them.

If it were easy, I wouldn't do this.

Gratitude is something you need to work for.  But, once you put forth the effort, the rewards are significant.  Give thanks today.  Give thanks tomorrow.  Give thanks every day you are able.  And, when a day comes where giving thanks is difficult, let those things of value and worth that have led you to be grateful sustain you until you are able emphasize the positive once again.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Annual Thanksgiving Posts

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