November 12, 2014 | 02:58 pm

Not Being Thankful

You do not have to be thankful for everything.

It’s thanksgiving season. It’s time to list your blessings, and remember all that you have, and show gratitude for all the blessings of family, friends, and living. You have clean water to drink, food to eat, a bed to sleep in, and this computer/phone that you are using to stay connected to the world.

But maybe you need a reminder this month: no, you do not have to be thankful for everything. 

You do not have to be thankful for everything. 

You don’t.

In fact, the spirit of Thanksgiving might lead us into a very different direction. We might discover, as we engage a posture of gratitude, that there are many things in this world that should outrage us. That should break our hearts. That should undo our peace and make us grieve. When we spend time thinking about the ways in which we are blessed, we are moved to consider the parts of this world that are wrong.

We are challenged to reflect upon the parts of our lives that were/are filled with pain and heartache. We recall the hurts or the wounds that changed the course of our lives and forced us to survive unthinkable things. And no, we may not be thankful for those course changes. And that’s okay.

You do not have to be thankful for everything.

When you are going around the table, listing the things for which you are thankful, relish those things. But the other things, the dark things, the sad things…those can belong at the table too. God cares about those things too. God does not ask for you to be thankful for those things. We may give thanks in all circumstances, but we do not have to give thanks for all circumstances.

Here is a prayer for all the things we are not thankful for:

God,

I am not thankful for the injustice in this world or in my life. I thank you for being outraged with me.

I am not thankful for the hunger in this world or in my life. I thank you for enabling me to care for the hungry.

I am not thankful for the violence in this world or in my life. I thank you for making me an instrument of peace.

I am not thankful for the loss in this world or in my life. I thank you for grieving with me.

I am not thankful for the diseases in this world or in my life. I thank you for facing treatment with me.

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for God's compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:19-22