Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thanksgiving reflections on life November 22, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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A few years ago I found this vintage 1976 calendar at a garage sale. Each year prior to Thanksgiving, I hang it in my dining room as a representative reminder of life’s blessings.

WHEN I CONSIDER THANKSGIVING, I visualize the tapestry of my life woven with gratitude and blessings and, yes, even sadness. Sometimes I’d like to yank the black threads and pull away the darkness, leaving only vivid hues of happiness.

But to do so would present an imitation of my life, a cheap knock-off work of art that portrays the idealistic rather than the realistic. I don’t care who you are, where you live, what you do, you are the accumulation of life’s experiences—positive and negative.

Challenges, whether financial, health-related, personal or otherwise, shape us, make us stronger, teach us empathy and compassion and how to handle grief and anger and disappointment and frustration and pain. At the time we battle difficulties, we usually fail to see the good, the reason to give thanks. Often that comes later, as time passes, acceptance comes, situations change and reflection happens.

For example, I was bullied as a pre-teen by junior high classmates so ruthless and mean that I hated school. I cried every day, wished the teasing would end. It should have. But in those days, no one stepped in to stop the abuse. And one teacher in particular was himself a psychological abuser. Because of those two unbearable years, I hold zero tolerance for abuse whether perpetrated by a child, teen or adult. I use my words now as a way to educate, to help others, to advocate, to make a positive difference.

When I consider personal health challenges like severe osteoarthritis and resulting hip replacement, a broken shoulder, and near deafness in my right ear, I see how my empathy for others has grown, how my patience lengthened, how my thankfulness for my husband deepened. Threads of gold shimmer in the tapestry of my life, outshining the underlying less-noticed darkness of difficulties.

My life remains a work of art in progress. There are days when life circumstances seem overwhelming, when the mother in me wants to make everything better. But then I hear an uplifting song, get an encouraging email or text, hold my granddaughter, hug my husband, write something especially meaningful, talk to my son too far away in Boston, gather with friends, reach out to someone hurting. Then threads of silver and gold sparkle gratitude and thanksgiving for this life I live. Not perfect. But beautiful in blessings.

Today, may you find many reasons to give thanks for your life. Happy Thanksgiving!

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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36 Responses to “Thanksgiving reflections on life”

  1. The calendar art is beautiful. Regarding the dark parts, my son has been shopping for a new tv and one quality to consider is how black is the black. Tv manufacturers brag that they have achieved true black because that makes the other colors stand out. I have learned from you and your posts. Happy Thanksgiving

  2. This is beautiful. I wish you many, many, many more threads of gold–today and everyday. Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Valerie Says:

    Beautiful, truthful words. Thank you.
    Happy Thanksgiving Audrey.

  4. Joyce in Kansas Says:

    Great post. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I forget (unfortunately) where I heard this, but your post reminded me of it.. ‘God answers all of our prayers.. But sometimes the answer is NO!’
    Not everything in life is what we’d want it to be but it is likely more than we deserve.

  6. Almost Iowa Says:

    I think of all the trials, the tragedies, the conflicts and grudges……then I think of pumpkin pie. This is not to make light of those things – but pumpkin pie has a healing quality all its own.

    • Oh, Greg, my food prep plans include making a pumpkin pie and whipping up real cream to top it.

      Thanks for sharing the blessings of your humor with us here in the comments section and also on you Almost Iowa blog. You always make me laugh and I appreciate that, and you.

      • Almost Iowa Says:

        Here is hoping that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving – and here is hoping that everyone pitches in with clearing the table and doing the dishes.

        And all of you who are reading this, that means you have to help with the dishes too.

        Just say’n.

      • Thank you, Greg. No traditional Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year. When the kids become adults and move out of state and/or get married, traditions change.

  7. sidetrackken Says:

    Your Thanksgiving essay is wonderful. Thank you. It’s a reminder that the darkness we are dealing with this Thanksgiving is a background to all the other colors we have around us.

  8. Don Says:

    Audrey, wonderful post today, thanks, and for you, your family and everyone else two words “HAPPY THANKSGIVING”!!!

  9. Sheila Ehrich Says:

    Thank you for making me take time to read and, now, to reflect. Blessings to you and yours on this Thanksgiving.

  10. Jackie Says:

    Thank for for these authentic words Audrey. Life is for sure a tapestry of good, bad, happy sad and all that fits in between! This post reminded me of what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18… “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. What would we do without our faith and dependance on God’s promises? I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of happiness & precious conversation with your dear family.

  11. Beth Ann Says:

    Somehow I missed this yesterday and I apologize but am so glad I found it today. Your life is definitely a mixture of good and bad but my prayer is that the strands of gold and silver far outweigh the darkness that creeps in. Life has a way of throwing us curve balls but we serve a wonderful God who sees us through each and every circumstance. My prayer for you today is for blessings upon you and your family. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

  12. Becky and Trace Adams Says:

    Thanks for your excellent thoughts on Thanksgiving, it was a blessing to us. Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. Littlesundog Says:

    I have learned to be thankful for many things I used to grumble about. There is a greater depth of understanding at this point in life… the perception of everything changes. Blessings to you this Thanksgiving season. Sorry I’m a bit late. I haven’t looked at the computer much lately!

  14. Virgil Says:

    What a blessing you are to so many Audrey with your Thanksgiving message. I just got around to reading it and got tears in my eyes. Then I read it again to Jane and we enjoyed it even more. I’m going to make a copy and send it to all of my kids. Thank you so much you’re a blessing.

  15. Susan Ready Says:

    What a lot of lovely thoughts you’ve weaved into your tapestry of Thanksgiving. And me like others wish you many more golden threads.

  16. Happy belated thanksgiving! How to true one never sees how much they have to be thankful for until they take time to reflect


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