In my up coming book "Growing Up Nobody" I write about the fond memories I have of Thanksgiving at my Grandparents home. All the kids would be playing. Football, board games and Lego's occupied our time. The men sat in the living room watching the parade or the game and the women would be in the kitchen preparing the meal that would soon be making it's way into our bellies. There would be more pans on the stove than there were burners. A careful balancing act was performed to keep all the items warm until it was time to eat.
We would all pile into the small dining room with the kids sitting at a small folding table a.k.a. the kids table. The smells of the food filling our noses we would be told to wait as we needed to say grace. My immediate family never prayed and I always felt uncomfortable. The prayer of course was filled with things we were grateful for including our shelter and the food we were staring at with one open eye.
For years I have heard people describe their blessings and they always included those basic items. They also included things like health, peace and friendships. But I have never heard anyone say they are thankful for the trials in their lives. We say things like "what doesn't kill you will make you stronger" and hold up people who over come adversity. We all love a underdog story. Even Edgar Allan Poe said "Never to suffer would never to have been blessed."
So why don't we embrace our struggles and be thankful for them? Even small trials are character builders. They are the things that form who we are. So much of how we react, feel, and our beliefs are formed in those moments.
While we are faced with the pain and hurt of our trials we cannot see what good can come from it. For most of my life I faced one trial after another. Many of them piled one on top of the other. I couldn't understand why I was facing all the things that came my way and I felt like I was being punished. I had no idea that years later my story would bring hope to people. When I watched my dad take is last breath I had no idea it would give me empathy for those who have lost someone close. I had no idea that when I was being bullied in school that I would be able to relate to someone who feels worthless. I also never imagined that I would be opening myself up by putting it all down in a book. But I am thankful for all that I have been through because it has made me who I am today.
This Thanksgiving be thankful for your heartaches and your trials. Be thankful that you have had the opportunity to grow. You are who you are today because of your experiences good and bad. Embrace them, learn from them, and use them to improve your life and use them to improve the life of others. Nobody knows better what is down the road than those who have walked it before. After all there is no light without the darkness. Happy Thanksgiving.
Tim "Timo" Olson
"Growing Up Nobody"
to be released soon