|Squanto, Thanksgiving icon: Catholic. FYI.|
I am thankful for the ankle sprain I suffered in January. There are few physical torments to compare with an ankle sprain, and I have suffered more than my share of ankle sprains; but this one saved me from a bad situation. This is not to say that I want to sprain my ankle again, ever.
I am thankful for all the times I have not gotten my own way. Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that disappointment is very often a sign of divine protection? When you are attracted to someone of the opposite sex, say, and that person is not free to marry, or finds you repulsive, or suddenly disappears on you, that is God's protection. When you don't get a job you really want, or even think you really need, that is God's protection, even though it looks like a catastrophe. Thwarted plans are God's protection. There is no greater disaster than eternal damnation, and so any disappointment, however terrible, is worth it if it saves us from that final and irreparable failure -- and that, really, is the ultimate purpose of these disappointments. How many miseries I have been spared, and how many occasions of great sin I have been prevented from falling into, because of the times I was not allowed to have my own way! Think of Michael Jackson. There was a man who always had his own way, by means of his vast wealth, and it was his ruin.
Which reminds me that I am thankful not to have been a woman of great means up to now. How I might have ruined myself with huge amounts of filthy lucre, especially in my younger days, I do not care to think.
I am thankful for all the difficult people I have to deal with at work. They teach me patience and forbearance.
I am thankful for all the talents and personal qualities I wish I had, but don't -- see thankfulness for the times I didn't get my own way, above.
I am thankful for all the trials and tribulations and sufferings I have endured. There is more merit in five minutes of suffering than in 20 years of pleasure.
Under that same category, I am thankful to be living in dangerous and uncertain times. I do not want to live in such times: I would much rather live in a time of peace (i.e., order and justice) and stability. But that is not the time I have been given to live in. God wants me to live in these times; He is in charge; and He has His reasons.
What is your list of things you are thankful for? It should include even the things you don't want to be thankful for. The time will come when those will prove to be worth the most.