It's easy to be thankful when something fortunate happens, when the perfect day rises, when grades are good, or when we're surrounded by friends and family.

But in these last two years, as the pandemic has restricted our ability to gather with loved ones, forced many people out of a job and turned so many of Guamanians' daily lives on end, and even making it more difficult to celebrate Thanksgiving, many of us struggle with thankfulness.

But this time of struggle makes finding ways to be thankful even more important, according to several people who spoke with The Scoop.

Ken Dixon, a missionary for the Wycliff Bible Translator and instructor for the Pacific Island University, said the Bible states in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

"Thanksgiving is really giving thanks to God," he said. "We have to realize that everything we have is a gift of God. Even the air we breathe is a gift that we can be thankful for."

During difficult circumstances, people often overlook the many blessings they have. Simple things such as running water, air conditioning and electricity are things we sometimes take for granted, but not everyone has access to these things. Being thankful for the little things can help build habits that can brighten anyone's outlook.

'I express my gratitude'

One college student said giving thanks helps keep her grounded in hope.

Chloe Calvo, a freshman at the University of Guam majoring in anthropology, says that before college, she was surrounded by a group of very close-knit friends, which gave her consistent social support. But, after high school, they went to different colleges and she found herself alone.

"Starting as a freshman at UOG, I did not find a group of friends immediately. I did not have the chance to consistently eat lunch with friends or walk around campus with them," she said.

"But this has shown me the importance of being thankful. Now, I express my gratitude for my friends and appreciate meeting new people."

Calvo also realized that good times with people eventually come to an end, so she takes the time to be thankful for the enjoyment she experiences in those moments.

"It is hard to see what the future holds, so being thankful for my current situation allows me to feel satisfied and less frustrated with future possible challenges," she said.

Love and support

For high school student Tobe Garvillas, a grateful attitude has actually made him more grateful for his parents because he's more aware of the support and love he's given. And it drives him to work harder.

"When I take the time to be thankful for the people who helped me, I understand how much others support me," said the Harvest Christian Academy senior. "I became more aware of my parent's love as I became thankful for their teachings in core values, college decisions and finances."

Garvillas said he's grown to understand that, no matter how challenging his circumstance may become, "there are always worse things that could've happened."

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