A couple of days ago I was telling a friend that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. This is saying a lot since the little kid in me adores Christmas, Easter has deep spiritual meaning and hope, I love decorating and dressing up for Halloween, and the all-sacred world-wide joyous exaltation of the celebration on May 20th each year is a particular favorite*.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because I thrive on gratitude (giving, not getting… although getting is nice too). I have found that no matter how bleak things might seem, there is always good to be found if I look hard enough. This reminds me that no matter how dark it may seem, love and hope will not be conquered. There is always a light.
Not to mention that from a purely selfish perspective, gratitude is healing. A thankful heart is lighter, happier and healthier. I want that.
Thanks for nothing
Have you heard of Job, the biblical character? (It is pronounced like lobe, with a long O). As the story goes, God and Satan were chilling in some lounge chairs chatting about the weather (one likes it cool, the other prefers it hot), when they notice this guy with the weird name of Job. Now Job is a particularly good dude, and loyal to God. I mean really good. I’m pretty sure he puts the toilet seat down every time, and does the dishes without being asked and everything. Well, Satan gets this smirky smile on his face and says he wants to make a bet that he can make Job curse God and turn away from him. God doesn’t think he can pull it off, so they put a few bucks on it. (Keep in mind, I am not a biblical scholar, and some of the details may not be exactly accurate).
So the Devil does his worst. Next thing you know, Job’s farm is destroyed, his family is dead and to top it off, he gets terribly sick. You know the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Well, Alexander didn’t have anything on Job. He went from being happy, healthy and wealthy to the opposite of those all of those things with a cherry on top. A rotten cherry. It was pretty intense, and he felt as bad as a person can feel. Almost as bad as when I heard that the Seattle Seahawks had traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. Yes, that bad.
Did Job curse God? Nope. In your FACE, Satan! You lose!
Did I curse God after the Wilson trade? That… is a story for another time.
Meanwhile, back on the farm
What happened to Job, you ask? God gave him back all he had lost, plus added a bunch of more on top. (It still sucked for the family members that died, though.)
Why am I telling you this? If you have been reading The TL;DR Voice-over Blog for very long, you will have probably noticed something about me. Most people are rightfully concerned about how their image is portrayed on social media, always putting forth their very best images, victories and accolades. This makes sense, because you want your colleagues and clients to think the best of you. It’s all part of the marketing game.
I, on the other hand, cannot be anything other than what I am, which is honest to a fault. For good or ill (for ill more often than not), I am open about my struggles as much as my wins. Admittedly, not always the wisest thing to do.
Thanks for nothing
Fearing to sound like a whiney baby but needing to be honest, I admit to feeling a itty-bitty tiny little bit like Job right now.
As I am thinking about Thanksgiving, and about being thankful in general, I will admit this has been a less than stellar year for me business-wise. For whatever reason, I have booked fewer jobs this year than I ever have. It isn’t “nothing”, but close enough for the purpose of my illustration. My discouragement has been real and my frustration trying to figure out what I need to do differently has been a…frustration.
Despite this, I am thankful for this year. Not just in this year, but for it. I am thankful for this dry time and the growth I know it will nurture in me, knowing that in the end I, and my business, will be better for it. I am thankful for a more deeply seated faith in my own calling to be a part of the voice-over industry. If I can love it even during prolonged down times like this past year, then I can be confident I have found where I belong, don’t you think?
Yes, the ear worm was intended. You’re welcome.
Whenever life has beaten me up in the past (and let’s be honest, having a bad year in VO is a lot less important than most of life’s trials and losses), I have always risen back up, even when I was sure I couldn’t. There have always been valuable lessons to learn. I have always ended up with something to be thankful for. Always.
There is another thought I can’t get rid of. Somebody told me a while back that they could picture me in a successful future where I will be on stage—as in a Ted Talk or conference— retelling the story of my bad year as encouragement to others to not give up their dreams. I like that idea.
Fully aware that many people in our own VO community are suffering and struggling with far more than my paltry complaints, I feel a little ashamed for my whining. That is probably a good thing, as it makes me focus beyond myself. If you are struggling this holiday season, I pray for you that you will be surprised by something to be thankful for. No matter how small it might be, I strongly desire that it will encourage you for a moment, and give you hope.
Thanks for everything
I have so many things to be thankful for. My wife, my family, and my friends in the VO community. I have relatively good health, have been able to pay all my bills and experience some luxuries along the way. No, I really have nothing to complain about.
Meanwhile, back in the Bible
There is this other guy in the Bible named Paul, who was a leader in the early church. He wrote a letter of encouragement to the church in the city of Phillipa, and he concludes it with “Finally…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.
What a great reminder. This is where I am today, choosing to look for and think about such things.
*You guessed it, my birthday.
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I loved this post! Being thankful is something we, as a society, need more of. When I get discouraged, all I need to do is look around. There are people all over in worse situations than myself! I need to appreciate what I do have for gratitude to return.
Yes there are. It isn’t always easy to find things to be thankful for, but they are always there… although honestly we often don’t see them until later.
Happy Thanksgiving! Yup, 2023 has been a rather sh*tty year for me in more ways than I care to count. It hasn’t been easy at times to remember to look beyond at it, especially when family members are involved, but like you, I hope it’ll be a touchstone of tremendous unseen growth that will bear fruit down the road. So glad to know you and I wish you and your family a wonderful celebration, now and right through the holiday season.
Thanks, Laura. It is good to know you too-I always enjoy your being a part of our workout group. I hope 2023 will leave your ‘22 in the dust. Happy Thanksgiving!
I. Love. This. Blog. This has to be my favorite! (“favorite with a long “o” as in “lobe.”)
Seriously – the account of God chatting it up with Satan and you being a Biblical scholar and all. Magic! (“Magic!” with a long “o” as in “lobe.”) That was great. I can just picture the conversation, and the ensuing victory and “You mad bro?” in-your-face-ed-ness” of the “You LOSE!” on the part of Job. And “You mad, bro?” just brings us right back to Seahawks (“Seahawks” with a long “o” as in “lobe”) and the whole Russell Wilson covfefe (“covfefe” with a long “o” as in “lobe.”) SERIOUSLY….I almost feel bad for the guy.
But in truth…(“truth” with a long “o” as in “lobe”) I plan on copying this blog in near-entirety for my OWN blog this coming Monday, wherein I shall say almost exactly what you said and yet preserve my very OWN style of writing, which is, uh, your style. Because truly (“truly” with a long “o” as in “lobe”), we do have a LOT to be thankful for. So much that I’m willing to write “lot” in ALL-CAPS!!! (“ALL-CAPS” with a long “O” as in “LOBE.”)
Love ya buddy! Thank you for being thankful! I hope you have a successful and prosperous 2023!!! (“2023” with a long “o” as in “lobe.”)
Thank you for a great Thanksgiving blog post.
Even when Job’s wife, in her grief, who suffered the same losses of home and children, told him to just “curse God and die!”, Job wouldn’t. He just couldn’t. His trust was in God, not his circumstances. It was a matter of perspective and trust. Not unlike another man of Bible times, Joseph.
Now there’s a guy who went from boy sheepherder to the top advisor in Pharoah’s administration. That long journey was filled with adventure, but lots of it of the undesirable kind. He was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. His Egyptian boss’s wife tried to seduce him and frame him as the instigator. He was unjustly thrown into prison… you know the story.
But in all of that, Joseph held firm to his convictions and did the right thing. He trusted God, he trusted God’s timing, and he did what he was called to do. When God finally moved him up the ranks to be Pharoah’s top advisor, Joseph knew Who to thank.
When those jealous, spiteful brothers faced famine in their land, they went to Egypt to try to buy favor and food from Pharoah. They had no clue that the man they needed to talk to was the little brother they had sold into slavery decades before. You can only imagine the shame they must have felt to discover this was the kid brother they had left for dead in pit. Or the terror they felt when they knew he held their fate in his hands.
But Joseph, man of faith that he was, told them, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” Wow. Through all those years, even in the hard times, Joseph trusted God and just did what he was called to do. And he did. He was blessed, even in the hard times, and he knew Who to thank for what was accomplished.
Yes, sometimes it’s not about the income, but it’s the blessing of who you meet and what you learn along the way. As a VO artist, (and in all of life) whatever talent I have, what ever success I achieve, it’s all a gift. From my perspective, God’s the Giver. And I’m very grateful.
Today I’m also thankful that your post popped up in my newsfeed. Nice to make your acquaintance. Another blessing..
Thank you so much, Sharon. Nice to meet you! I have long thought of Joseph as a role model for me, regarding forgiveness, and for keeping a Godly perspective. Not that I am always successful, mind you, but I try.
Jon! Another great and honest blog! Thank you for being you and for being so open and honest about everything, including your struggles. I really see that as a strength! Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!
Thanks, Theresa! I’ve always told myself that my weaknesses are my strength. I don’t know if it is true or not, but it sounds good!
I am thankful for YOU, Jon Gardner!! You and your heart of gold.
Thank you Michael! Under closer examination it was revealed that my heart is only brass, but I appreciate the vote of confidence. Not too bad though. Brass is weatherproof, right?