All throughout middle and high school, I was OBSESSED with magazines. I still love to flip through a thick, glossy paged Vogue or InStyle now and then, but during my teen years, I treated fashion magazines like some kind of rare, precious jewel. I would scour the aisles of the grocery store until I found exactly the mag I wanted, be all set to check out, and then stop dead in my tracks. There’s a tear in this magazine! I’m definitely not getting that one. So, I’d go back to the aisle, and sift through the stacks until I found just the right one. If I was going to pay $7.50 for a magazine, I insisted that it be without flaw.
Looking back, it does seem silly that I was so type-A about my reading material when I’m really not a type-A kind of person. I was adamant, though. I didn’t want to use my hard earned money on something that wasn’t perfect. I couldn’t possibly be thankful for an item that had something wrong with it. I feel like this is how a lot of us are when it comes to various aspects of life. We invest our time, money, and energy into things that we think will turn out exactly how we envisioned them to be, but often times, they just don’t. There are unexpected bumps, spills, rips, and tears that we don’t think will come along, but they do.
When we experience these bumps and spills, we often find it hard to be grateful for our present situations. We don’t want to accept something that isn’t ideal and refuse to be happy until things go exactly our way. But some things may never go our way. How are we then supposed to be grateful?
It’s kind of like how I felt about buying a magazine that had to be tear-free. If it wasn’t perfect, I wouldn’t accept it. But in life, we can’t just dump our problems to the side and forget they existed or swap our lives out for somebody else’s… it’s not as simple as swapping out a different issue of Vogue. Maybe you studied really hard for an exam and still didn’t do well. Maybe you invested a huge chunk of your heart into a relationship and it didn’t work out. Maybe you ate right and worked out as hard as you could and still received bad news from the doctor. Whatever the case may be, this bump in your life does not define you.
There were times when I would look through about 15 magazines and every single one had something wrong with it. In the end, I cared more about the content of the publication than I did about the tear, so I bought one anyways. Does this mean that I settled? Of course not. I made the best out of something that wasn’t ideal and still enjoyed every single fashion-filled page. As I flipped through the pages, I was reminded just how much I loved what was inside of them and forgot that there was ever something wrong with the cover.
Obviously a magazine means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but as I reflect during this time of Thanksgiving, I’m trying really hard to learn how to be grateful for all of the rips, tears, spills, and bumps in my life. I want to try to take a step back and look at the big picture and see just how wonderful and beautiful life is despite the bad things. It’s easy to be grateful for the things in life like: family, friends, food, shelter, and all of God’s blessings, but it isn’t so easy to keep that gratitude up when we experience a hiccup in the road.
This Thanksgiving, my goal is to not be disappointed when perfection doesn’t happen and embrace what life gives me, the beautiful and the messy, all while thanking God for all of the blessings I am showered with each and every day. It’s not always easy, but I hope you’ll join me in doing the same.