Whether an original or modern-day pilgrim, there can be much abundance in suffering while on our journeys. Personal growth and healing come in many forms and many layers. Thanksgiving this year reminded me not only of gratitude but how we can rise above loss to have meaningful and productive lives, full of abundance. 

Abundance Amidst Suffering

You might ask how in the world there can be such a thing. Chronic illness makes all of life more difficult and complicated. It can add to the trauma we have already endured in our lives. Top it off with the holidays and it can be quite overwhelming.

Lyme Disease is one of the diseases I have. The physical pain has been something far beyond natural childbirth or anything I could imagine – until it happened to me for years on end. That physical pain is numbed as I think about the losses of family and friends I have endured. It cuts through me the worse during the holidays.

The holidays bring seasonal reminders of some of our losses. We all have choices to make. We can choose to wallow in the losses or get on with today, the moment at hand and the abundance that can come with suffering when we allow it.

My abundance is life itself. I have been blessed with life. A life I did not expect during the hardest and longest health crash I have endured to date. Regardless of the loss I feel, I can still be grateful for the abundance of life. A chance to have many more years with many new friends and family. And always the chance of reuniting with family and friends of the past, the chance I would not have if I did not live through the health crash. I am honored to have lived through the physical devastation of the disease. That is how I can say that there can be abundance amidst suffering.

I spent some time this Thanksgiving to reflect on the tremendous loss and suffering that the earliest Americans endured. They helped to provide us with what we have today in America. They had a willingness to lose everything, even their lives, to venture out into this new world. Through their intense loss and suffering, they stopped to show the gratitude of abundance.

I continue to be thoroughly amazed at what we can be grateful for when we choose to look past our own pain. It does not remove the loss and suffering of trauma in our lives but it provides the means in which we can move through it.

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Early American History Movies

Pilgrims is an incredible PBS movie. If you have Amazon Prime it is FREE. A beautifully filmed documentary by award-winning director Ric Burns, The Pilgrims chronicles the deep history, origins, and critical first decade of the first permanent English colony in New England.

Mayflower: The Pilgrim’s Adventure Captain Jones (Anthony Hopkins) and Rev. William Brewster (Richard Crenna) lead the Assembly of the Pilgrims to America aboard the Mayflower.

Travel to Mayflower II and Pilgrim Monument, Massachusetts

We can remember the past as we move through the present. The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum are taking over leadership of Provincetown 400, the initiative whose mission is to oversee events and fundraising for the commemorations in 2020 of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrim’s first landing in Provincetown in 1620.

How did you deal with your chronic illness and trauma through Thanksgiving Day?

Maribeth Baxter, MBEC

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Donations are accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.

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