MATTHEWS: Things I’m Extremely Thankful for This Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas and the joyful traditions that come with it, I’m going to veer in a nonpolitical direction with some thoughts on what I’m thankful for this holiday season. 

Opportunities: At the beginning of 2019 and about a week before my birthday, I was laid off from an administrative job after nearly 18 years with the same place. 

After taking 24 hours to process it, I decided to take a chance I’d been too afraid to before: It was time to try and finally fulfill my longtime dream of being my own boss by way of writing as a way to make a living. 

I began to put out feelers on social media, inquiring about possible opportunities, praying I’d get results. Not long after that, I had three writing gigs, one of which was here at North State Journal. Here we are almost a year later and I’m still writing, finally living my dream. 

I am immensely grateful for the opportunities given to me on the writing front this year and for all those who have supported me throughout the journey. 

Random acts of kindness: I was on the receiving end of random acts of kindness more so than normal this year for reasons I can’t fathom outside of the understanding that the Lord works in mysterious ways. 

There was the time last month when a local car mechanic fixed a minor car problem I was having for free and in the midst of a very busy day at his shop. “No big deal,” he told me as I thanked him profusely, making a mental note to write a nice letter to his corporate office. 

There was also the time a few months ago when a collegeage guy working at the car wash let me run my car through the second time around at no charge. He must have felt sympathy for me after I told him it had been a long, long time since I’d given my trusty, dusty vehicle a nice, thorough cleaning. 

Then there was a man who I met just last week who worked for a line locator company. Coincidentally, he happened to be in my neighborhood at the same time I had questions about a telecommunications utility box that was near my house. “There are some wires protruding out of that box,” I explained to him. “The whole thing looks dangerous.” 

He listened patiently even though his assignment wasn’t to look into my concerns. But he did anyway, fixing the box in 10 seconds after I showed him where it was, telling me it was safe, no fire/electrical hazards. He put my mind at ease with that one simple gesture. 

Friends and family: With being your own boss comes the responsibility of being better at time management, staying focused, and keeping on task – in the midst of juggling your other responsibilities. In my case, in addition to being a fulltime freelance writer, I’m also a parttime caregiver to my parents, who are senior citizens. About 10 days out of the month, I stay with them, helping out with whatever needs to be. 

 They, along with the rest of my family and friends, have stuck with me through all my ups and downs this year, including each time I worry out loud that “I’ll never get this piece done on time!” Mom will calmly tell me “You’ve got this.” And like most moms, she’s right. 

As you sit down for your holiday meal, take a moment to remember all that you should be thankful for. It is in those moments you’ll understand that most of the trivial problems we experience each day, the “outrages” we’re supposed to join in on really don’t matter much at all in the grand scheme of things. 

Stacey Matthews is a veteran blogger who has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to Red State and Legal Insurrection.