“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)
Thanksgiving is usually considered the beginning of the holiday season. However, the beginning of the holidays can often be more depressing rather than celebratory. For those of us who don’t have a family or are unable to visit family due to health problems, it can be especially difficult. We hear others talk about their Thanksgiving plans and see the joy in their faces, knowing that they’ll be seeing their loved ones and spending time with them in celebration.
I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to be alone on Thanksgiving. My husband’s family lives several hours away and I simply can’t ride that long in a vehicle. All that’s left of my own family is my dad, and he lives out of state. So, it’s always me–by myself. I usually buy a turkey dinner ahead of time from a local restaurant and I sit at the table, alone, eating my dinner. I have a difficult time with this.
The one time my husband decided to stay with me rather than go to his family’s big Thanksgiving dinner, I could tell that he was really wishing he could have gone to be with his family. While he tried to hide the fact from me, I could still tell. After that, I told him that he was always to go and that I would be alright staying at home alone on Thanksgiving by myself. What I didn’t tell him was how much I wished I could have gone with him and how alone I felt.
During those times, I’ve had a hard choice to make. I can sit and cry and feel depressed, which only adds to my health issues as it causes me stress, or I can handle it differently.
A few years ago I thought If God is with me all the time, He’s with me today. Thanksgiving is not a different day to Him. So since then, it’s God and I sitting at my dinner table on Thanksgiving.
I know it may sound silly to some that I sit at my table and look at an empty chair across from me, while eating my dinner. But I know it’s not empty. I know that God is right there with me, even if I cannot see Him. And I talk to Him. I thank Him for what He has done for me, what He has done for my family and I simply enjoy His presence. I am no longer alone on Thanksgiving.
I can tell when my husband comes home that he feels relieved to see that I’m okay instead of sad and depressed, as it’s a difficult choice for him to make. But I feel better knowing that he’s had the joy of seeing his family and I have the joy of knowing that I’ve gotten to spend time with my heavenly Father.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to stay focused on You so that I don’t become sad or depressed. Help me to give thanks for what You have given me and help me to not focus on what I don’t have. Help me to feel blessed regardless of my circumstances and I thank You that You are here with me, regardless of what day of the year it is. Amen.
About the author:
Fiona Burky is a retired Licensed Clinical Counselor who lives in Ohio. It is only by God’s grace and strength that she has been able to endure her multiple health issues. You may view her blog at: http://fionab-growingbeyondyourpainfulpast.blogspot.com
Are you going to be alone on Thanksgiving? How can you change your perspective to make it a day of refreshment rather than depression?
Hillsong sings “Through it All” in this video that we will believe calm your soul and offer sme refreshment, especially if you will be alone on Thanksgiving.