PUBLISHED: November 24, 2022

Here we are, another Thanksgiving Day has come and is now nearing it’s end. With that, the mad rush to Christmas is right here at the doorstep.

When you went to bed last night, chances are you fit into one of two groups:

  1. The “I really do have a lot to be thankful for” group.
  2. The “Can we just wake up Friday morning and go Black Friday shopping so I can take out some pent up rage from the crap show of the past few weeks (or months…or even years) on someone who dares get between me and that thing I absolutely have to buy” group.

Either way, if you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet you woke up this morning…and sure enough, it was Thanksgiving Day.
For the first group, your day was probably pretty good…as it should be. For the second, of which I’ve been a (not so) proud, annual due paying  member, you may have tried to enjoy the day, even might have faked it pretty well…or you may have just cried your way through it…or anything in between.

To my fellow members of group 2, I’m not going to sit here and try to convince you that you have something to be thankful for. Truth is, you’re not an idiot. You know deep down that there are good things out there in your world. But on the flip side of that same coin, you can’t seem to see it, or the pain overshadows it, or you just don’t WANT to see it. Both realities can be true at the same time. And when you’ve stood face to face with gut wrenching heartaches, you GET that feeling.

Here’s the reality…convincing you of what you already know won’t have lasting positive effects. In fact, it could (and probably would) backfire. Then why write this? Cause you can’t gain perspective while trying to cram more behavior modification in your brain.

  • TO MY FRIENDS who are overcome with grief because you lost that spouse, parent, child, best friend, etc…  
  • TO MY FRIENDS out there struggling with mental health and trying your best to hold it all together…
  • TO MY FRIENDS who have lost that dream job or feel as if their dream is juuuuust out of reach...
  • TO MY FRIENDS who are begging God himself for that child, only to have their best friends dance around you as they try to tell you they are expecting without hurting your feelings…
  • TO MY FRIENDS who are facing the reality of unexpected sickness or disease…
  • TO MY FRIENDS who are just flat out hurting…

If the truth really does set us free, allow me to share three simple truths with you. I want you to chew on these as you lay in bed tonight, say your prayers, and try to drift off to sleep.
  1. YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO FEEL the feelings you feel. Good, bad, and downright ugly. They are yours. Feel them. What happened is real, and the gaping wounds left behind are just as real. Do not negate or ignore them. Trust me, that only compounds things, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now. And yes, I know this is becoming cliche, but it really is true. Press into this. Cry it out. Cuss. Scream. Cry some more. Whatever it takes. When my mom died the day before Thanksgiving in 2014…three days after our very first Warrior Feast, yeah, talk about an emotional roller coaster that beat the literal hell out of me. If you’ve ever ridden the original Texas Giant (not the nice new smooth ad silk hybrid monstrosity)…you can get an understanding of what I mean. One ride on that thing and you had better have a good chiropractor on speed dial. There’s no right time frame, but give yourself permission and time to let the feelings do their thing. As you do, you will find that the goal at hand will be continuously in view, and even if you’re taking baby steps, the compounding momentum will give you…get this…perspective.
  2. THERE IS A REASON YOU'RE HURTING. Let’s take grief, for instance… Someone much wiser than me once told me that grief was unexpressed love that you now feel you can’t give to the person lost. That hit me right in the feels. Now, flip that coin over. On the other side of this same pain infused coin is the reality that you have truly experienced love. You wouldn’t hurt like you do if there wasn’t real, tangible love shared between you and the person lost. Now, does that make the pain go away? Nope. But remember, that’s not the goal. The goal is perspective. To look at something a little differently so that you may can see more of what’s already there. So, ask yourself, WHY does this hurt so bad? Whether grief or loneliness or longing or anything else, starting with why will give you a little bit of healthy perspective.
  3. I CAN'T EXPRESS IN WORDS just how much this truth saved my life…literally. You are not, can not be, and are not expected to be Superman. Great movies…but the dude never existed. The people around you that love you don’t need nor want the fake super strong person you’re trying to be. Hard fact: It’s flat out exhausting trying to shoulder the weight of yourself and everyone around you. Guess what…that only prolongs the inevitable, and makes it exponentially worse. Allow me to illustrate. When Tiff and I experienced multiple back to back miscarriages, I tried being strong for her. That’s what a good husband does, right? Wrong! That’s what a well intended husband does, but nevertheless, not what a good one does. She didn’t need me to be strong for her. She needed me to be vulnerable, to feel, to let her see me hurt. It almost sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. She needed me to hold her and cry with her. I needed her to let me cry. Sometimes our emotional moments happened at the same time, and sometimes they didn’t. Reality is this, in this, and any other situation I’ve personally experienced, I was not the only person hurting. Whether a spouse, a friend, a family member, or whatever, they need to know that you are human…and you need to release the lie that tells you you have a responsibility to be superhuman. That’s not your job. And you’ll get crushed underneath the unnecessary weight that you will heap on your back if you don’t practice this. I remember the night the Superman cape came off. I remember it vividly. I found myself in a crying heap in the hallway of our home with my strong wife sitting there with me just rubbing my arm and back, letting me get it all out. That night, I learned this lesson by experience. From there, the next day, in a weird way, we walked together stronger. And that’s how you get a little bit of a different perspective, by walking hand in hand with the ones you love, as you face the heartache and misery that this life throws at you. Now, I have experienced superhuman strength, and it never once came when I was trying to be superhuman. It came at my most vulnerable. At my seemingly lowest. And my ugliest. When I said some of the most horrific thoughts I thought I could think. And that real superhuman strength I’m referring to always involves another human being. And what’s crazy is the fact that sometimes that other human being has been hurting just like me. Weird…I know.

So, goodnight. I’m going to get some rest and do my best to avoid all you crazy folks out there at Walmart at 5am tomorrow morning (no offense, you do you, boo). I’m going to pray that you, in all your pain, can gain just a little bit of a perspective that helps you realize that you do have some thanks to give. And if you need to talk it out, we are here. Just hit us up.