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Facebook Posts You Won’t See On Thanksgiving

At some point on Thanksgiving Day, either while waiting to sit down to eat (because that relative is late again) or while trying to find a comfortable position so that your food can digest before you hit the dessert table (and wishing you’d worn the pants with the expandable waist), you’ll probably pass some of that time checking your Facebook news feed.   And if previous years are any indication, a number of friends will be posting about what they’re thankful for.

You’ll likely see posts expressing thanks for things such as:

  • Family- At least one day a year we become a little nostalgic for our family and overlook their irritating faults- at least for most of the day.
  • Friends.
  • A country where we’re free to vote.
  • Employment and health (if we’ve got them or regained them).

Of course, there will be some comedian among your friends who’ll post of his or her thanks for slow-roasted turkey (or smoked turkey or deep-fried turkey), garlic bacon mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, buttermilk biscuits, green bean casserole, pecan pie with vanilla ice cream, and pumpkin pie.  (Come to think of it, that might be something I would post.)

If you live in the Dallas area and have friends who are Cowboys fans, you might see them posting about the game.  (Of course, if you live in another city or are a fan of another team, feel free to insert your team’s quarterback into the following.)

“Romo is awesome!!!!” (After he throws a touchdown.)

“Romo sucks!!! Where’s Clint Longley???”  (After he throws another interception.)

When it comes to expressing our thanks on this day, you’ll notice that we tend to skip over the negative of the past twelve months and express our gratitude for the positive.  For this one day, we want to put aside the pain, the fear, and the heartache of the last year.  Just be positive.

But where do we learn the most?  Where do we grow the most?  What makes us who we are?  Do we only learn and grow and forge our being through the good?

The things that many of us will give thanks for- love, family, realizing a dream, achieving a goal, even the freedom to vote- emanate from the valley of pain.  Love is appreciated because we know the heartache of breakup.  Dreams and achievements are celebrated because we know the taste of failure.  Freedom came with a fight.  As somebody has probably said (and I just can’t find the person to give them credit), “No one gets to the mountain without first growing through the valley.”

So this Thanksgiving, you might not see anyone post on Facebook about the valley of pain they have walked through (or maybe are walking through).

You might not see any posts about heartache.  No one is likely to express their thanks for betrayal or despair.  You won’t see anyone post about their gratitude for the bottom falling out, for the scary and frightening moments of the last year, for the absolute fear of not knowing if tomorrow would be different from today, or the torrent of tears they cried in the past twelve months.  Nobody likes being in that place.  But in these pits, we learn the power of friendship.  We learn who our friends are and consequently who are not.  We learn the meaning of friendship and the power of a listening ear.  These are things we wouldn’t have learned had we not dropped into a pit.

You might not see any posts about failure and dashed dreams.  None of your friends are likely to give thanks for all the time and effort and energy that went into that one thing- be it a project, a job, a business, or something else- to then have the world respond to their work with a collective yawn.  In that moment, self-doubt fills the room and the hours put into the project feel wasted.  But we only learn what works by finding out what doesn’t.  In failure, we learn what to eliminate and what to keep.

You might not see any posts about death.  None of your friends are going to give thanks for the death of a loved one (and if they did you might wonder about them- a lot).  To have someone close to you die is not only an emotional experience unlike any other, but death is also a stark reminder of the brevity and finality of life.  The loss of a loved one creates a void that cannot and will not be filled, but this void creates a thankfulness for this person having been a part of your life.  Rubbing shoulders with death can awaken you to your own life, for the need to thankful or even the need to act.  The death of a loved one reminds us to live now, to live today.

On most Thanksgivings, we express our thanks for the good, as we should.  Yet, if not for the difficulties of life, if not for these valleys of heartache and failure and death, we couldn’t have discovered the heights of goodness or become the person we are.  From failure and pain and heartache comes hope and joy and understanding.  Today might be full of the former rather than the latter, but the latter doesn’t come without the former.

Categories: Uncategorized

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