Giving thanks throughout the year is something we forget to do. And then, seasons change, we are reminded of so much that we truly are to be grateful and thankful for. 

According to Wikipedia, "Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessings of the harvest and of the preceding year”

With that, I reflected, taking a deep dive into the harvest. What are you thankful for? And if we reflect on all the things that we are or should be thankful for, would it change the way we see our lives? For me the answer was a simple yes, it would change it. While I am overall grateful and thankful, how often do I stop in my day to day to give thanks for those things…

It’s burdensome as no one wants to channel thoughts daily on what could be, could have been or how badly things could have turned out just to appreciate something we view as a small blessing more often because we don’t recognize it as a blessing at all... We are too busy trying to make things work, keep up with our work, stay alive and just get through the day. The thanksgiving part gets lost. But this is also why it’s important.

In 2021 I harkened back to the times where I had to rely on faith in knowing things would work out even when I did not know how. I had a plan – it did not work. I had goals, they were deferred. I was as proactive about my life and purpose as I’d always been, but naturally, it was not coming together.

I was experiencing a challenging time in my life after a tumultuous covid year 2020 as it befits to life, career, relocating and adulting which concluded with a major car accident by November 2020. While succumbing to injuries internally and externally after the accident and loss of work due to those injuries, my father passed away April 2021. This, immediately followed by death and demise nine additional friendships and relationships over the span of 6 months. I was plastered with feeling estranged from my own family, disconnected, misunderstood, and mostly trying to navigate all of this through the grieving. I was alone or at least that’s how I felt during that time… and absolutely no one that I knew, could understand. I needed a break from my puzzle. And sometimes a break is all it means, so that you can reflect in that space and during that time.

A puzzle: A game, problem or toy that tests a person’s ingenuity or knowledge. In a puzzle, the solver is expected to put pieces together in a logical way, in order to arrive at the correct or fun solution of the puzzle. (Wikipedia)

I think the skill and craft that goes into puzzle solving is demonstrated best when the pieces are small. Example: How easy must it be to take two to four pieces of largely printed shapes and put them together to create the picture. Even when and if not done on the first try, a little manipulation of the pieces coupled with the designs on the pieces will have the puzzle together in no time. However, on a puzzle with 100-1000 pieces, it takes more skill, craft and patience of course. Similarly, if you apply the same concept to the smaller pieces, you know that each piece has a place on the board and sometimes not designed with a color or a stripe to allow you to know exactly where it may fit, they may be small but still meaningful.

Looking back over the year, I’d be remiss not to give thanks to where I am now. A year ago, I was on my knees begging the GOD above to give me a sign, open a door, close a window, light the path, be a fence, protect, provide and strengthen me. His grace and mercy proved sufficient as my faith was tested. In that time, a year ago- the pause and reflection given to the previous year is what cleared the path for the year to come. Relying on past experiences (my existing puzzle pieces) Recounting the times where I stumbled before (the pieces I needed to remove) is when I realized that I had lurched upon pieces that were not apart of the puzzle and pieces that were already there in which I could use to build on.

There were lessons I learned insomuch as experiences were acquired during the process. There were people I met who showed compassion. There were those who did not show compassion. There were those who experienced similar circumstances as well as those who could not relate at all. I traveled to places to experience culture and attended events where I learned from individuals many things that I did not know.

I am grateful beyond measure that some pieces were removed from the board even after I tried relentlessly to make them fit. I am grateful that pieces came together on the board naturally even when I did not want to place them there. Our family was blessed with three additions, making me an aunt and a great aunt at the same time. I was able to find a better place to live. Create healthier relationships, get access to resources and tools to carve out a better space on my board. I have been able to give the proper attention to therapy and physical therapy and self care. In this time- all the time I spent on pause - I am Thankful

Have I completed my puzzle? Absolutely not (I am still living) The art is having the right pieces, (continuing to live) knowing that they fit somewhere and being grateful that all the pieces are coming together to create a beautiful picture (life). 

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