Occupy Thanks, and giving too!

It is uncanny how often reading other people’s words inspire something within me. Actually this is both a testament to the power of words in general, but even more so to the writing skills of the bloggers I frequent. This particular thought was sparked by a poem from my sister, and a humorous piece on shopping woes, both written in tune with the Occupy Thanksgiving Movement.

We live in a world that craves heroes. There is so much apparently wrong out there. We face difficulties in our lives. We see the difficulties that others have, some having such a horrible life that ours looks easy. And we might be thankful we are not them, but then feel guilty for feeling that way. So we seek heroes to fix what is wrong with the world. Or to take our mind off the troubles around us.

When we see adversity; when life challenges us, or seems too overwhelming we often fall into depression; often seeking escape; often looking to another to save us. What is there to be thankful for? Life sucks? My life sucks, and that person’s life sucks even more! Why should I be thankful?

In the age of media blitzing we have model “heroes” constantly thrust at us. The super jock; the buff and tough character who can do anything, and who will fight against overwhelming odds to win the day. And despite the fact that these are often created characters, we then hero worship the face behind the character, assigning the amazing traits of the hero they portrayed to their reality. We see these people as having amazing lives, or their characters as being these amazingly strong people who can overcome anything, and wish we could be like that.

But I contend that the real heroes out there are the ones who face difficulty and … smile. The ones who find the humor in the dog pooping on your slipper; or being unable to buy a simple can of chicken broth because of a problem with communications. “Thanks” is as powerful a word as “love”. It is very easy to bitch and moan when something goes wrong in our lives. It is very easy to see the constant evidence of how low humanity can be and simply fall into despair. But it takes a true hero; it takes true strength of character to look difficulty in the face and smile. Or laugh. To stare Loki in the eye and say “Thank you for the opportunity!”

These everyday heroes are the people who will truly change the world. Because they fight harder battles than any movie soldier ever fights. They fight the demons within. Demons that are so seductive that sometimes it is a wonder we can fight them at all. When our heroes defeat these demons, they are doing something for everyone. By smiling when a frown is easier; by laughing when crying seems imminent; by saying thank you when a shout of anger wants to let loose, our heroes give to all around them. They give hope. They give an example, a lesson in fortitude. They show us that happiness is a choice that we can all make, despite the obstacles that might try to interfere.

So the next time life takes a dump on you, smile and say “Thank you for the manure! My garden will be beautiful now!” Be a hero! Recognize the power of being thankful; the power of a smile. Give the rest of the world something to think about. Make them say “Why can’t I be like that?”