Giving thanks in days of fear, uncertainty, and doubt

Two months ago yesterday, filled with a mix of anger, disappointment, and some level of relief, I spent nearly all day cleaning out my office. The contract on which I had worked for nearly ten years had been awarded to a different company, and rather than move wholesale to the new company, my team decided to break apart and move on to new opportunities.

The days leading up to that final one were horrible. Realizing the exodus of talent, both our customer and our competitor, rather than reach out to us in good faith and professionalism, decided to treat us like criminal suspects in need of questioning to attempt to fill in the knowledge gap. After two weeks of being subjected to this, my anger, frustration, and cynicism reached a high point. At one point after ranting and reeling off a series of uncharitable jokes, I realized that I had become the worst version of myself.

After I finished cleaning my office and said goodbye to people who had been my second family for nearly a decade, I walked out of the door unsure of what was in store for my life. It was pretty easy to start feeling sorry for myself and think about how the world or more particularly, my former customer had screwed me over. It was also easy to let that one negative overshadow nearly every other positive that I had in my life.

Life tends to do this to people. Uncertainty challenges our faith, causes fear, and fills us with doubt. Unfortunately, the world is filled with uncertainty. As I was experiencing my own personal issues, much larger scale events were unfolding. It started with ISIS marching across Syria and Iraq and killing anyone in their path. It continued with ebola leaving thousands dead and sparking a worldwide health crisis. Even as I write this, violent protests are breaking out around the world after a grand jury chose not to indict the police officer involved in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Ten minutes of watching the evening news can easily leave one cynical instead of thankful.

This global uncertainty helped put things into perspective for me. It made me realized how incredibly blessed I am. While the disruption in my career was difficult, it was temporary. As it turned out, my unemployment lasted for only 31 days, and my former employer provided a severance package that kept food on the table and bills paid without having to dip into our savings. Now a month into a new job, the anger and negative emotions of two months ago seem ages away.

Caught up in my own adversity, I forgot how fortunate I am, especially considering the hardships in which others find themselves. Many have lost jobs and are left wondering how they will make ends meet. Many are dealing with tragedy and illness. Many find themselves in the middle of the global tragedies that are filling the news cycles. Blessings and bad fortune alike tend to be relative, and we often view our circumstances in the vacuum of our own joy or frustration.

For this Thanksgiving, I am taking time to realize how great I have it. I have a great family, a great new job, and a litany of other blessings that God has chosen to pour out on me. While not without its minor drama and struggle, this has been a great year for my family and me.

I hope that you can say the same today. If you are struggling to do so, I hope that the difficulties in your life are just as temporary as mine have been and that blessings are just around corner. Even in days of fear, uncertainty, and doubt in our own lives or those of others, we can be thankful that God works all things for good according His purpose.