Becoming frustrated with negative news and online comments, I decided the week before Advent (November 25, 2018), to start posting on my FaceBook page one thing per day for which I was grateful to God, and try not to repeat. It was mostly a personal challenge for me, but held accountable by the public, daily posts. It forced myself to focus on positive things, for the weight of the negatives were surely weighing me down. I also chose a deadline because I wasn’t sure how I’d do, so decided on Epiphany, January 6th, which was yesterday. I posted daily thanks for 40 days — actually, it was 42 because I miscounted twice — a six week journey. Here is some of what I learned:
- No matter how bleak things may seem, there are people and things everywhere, and every day, to be thankful for.
- I shouldn’t worry about offending anyone by writing about God or being grateful or thankful. (Before, online, I sometimes felt like I treaded on eggs.)
- I found myself “on the lookout” every day for something to post. It wasn’t difficult to find them; what was difficult was limiting myself to only one thing.
- I ended up praying more – nearly entirely for others, but occasionally for me, too. It wasn’t so much that I was more aware of God in my life, but more how and what to share with others, as if my life experiences and thoughts were going through a filter.
- I discovered the FaceBook algorithm changed many of the people who normally popped up – changed to more thoughtful and grateful posts. This probably had to do with the “Living a Grateful Life” phrase I wrote every day. (Now I’ve been tagged!)
- Some days I felt like expounding in a super-long post (or blog or chapter) about what I’d mentioned. A possible book? asks this writer. Most likely not, I answer.
- An unmet-yet writing friend commented how I didn’t focus on thankful for material things. But I realize material things come and go, and you certainly “can’t take it with you”, I didn’t even consider that (except for the bed bit).
- I found it easy to skip posts or news articles which I knew were upsetting and would previously only draw me into dark places. I’m not saying I strove to ignore the bad, just not to dwell on them nor allow them to pull me down.
- Although my thinking and thoughts seemed to be clearer these past few weeks, I felt like the days passed very quickly.
- I know that upon further reflection I could drone on and on, but my point on my FB posts was brevity, as it rather is now, too.
Today I go in for outpatient cancer surgery. Instead of focusing on the negative (cancer, etc.), I will focus on people – praying for the attitudes, emotions, thoughts, and skills of the doctor and staff working on me, as well as for the thousands (most likely more) people who are also going through cancer surgery this very day, as well as for their families and friends.
God is good.