It's Thanksgiving time again. Specifically, I mean "the holiday", but I suppose a reminder of the concept is appropriate, too. This year, more than a few of us are fearful, confused, or just plain mad.
Understand, please … I am not preaching here. This posting is as much for me as it is for you. During tough times, people look hard for "answers". Sometimes though, at a particular point in time, there are no answers. In those moments (or hours), what we need more than a specific answer is perspective. So today, lets grab some, shall we?
Did you know that if you have cash in your wallet and a jar on your dresser that collects loose change, you are considered "prosperous" by more than 90% of the world's population? If you have food in a refrigerator, clothes in addition to the ones you are wearing, and a roof over your head at night, you are more fortunate than 75% of the people in the world.
Did you know that there are more than two billion people who cannot read? If you attend church without fear of arrest or harassment, you have a freedom in your life that three billion in the world do not enjoy.
If you are healthy, you are conspicuous by your vitality. Current statistics show that 1,050,000 people will die this very week.
When I take stock of my blessings, I am embarrassed by the things that bother me. If the electricity is out, I can become unhappy quickly. Rarely do I think about the months of uninterrupted service. Cable television, the gas stove, heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, clean sheets … all these are things that seemingly exist in my life without any grateful acknowledgment on my part. Yet there are billions of people who will never experience any of these luxuries.
One of my friends recently talked to an exchange student from an impoverished country. As they compared and contrasted her experiences in the United States with her home, she remarked, "You Americans get to complain about the nicest things."
Wow! Is that me? Sadly, I must confess to my share of complaints …
This Thanksgiving Day, my family will team up to meet the challenge of a grateful spirit. We will all work on a list of the things for which we are grateful. If you'd like to join us, create a numbered list for your family that reaches at least one hundred. Place the list in a heavily trafficked area like the kitchen and add to it all day long. Urge your guests to participate. How far can our families go? How quickly can our families create a lasting, grateful spirit? I can't wait to see your replies!
In closing, let me remind you of a military tradition that my family follows. At any formal meal, our men and women in uniform set an empty place as a visual reminder of those serving our country in foreign lands. As my work with the military increased over the past few years, my knowledge of and appreciation for them has grown. So, during our family dinners at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and several other holidays, this has become our tradition as well. It is a terrific way to show and explain our gratitude to the younger members of our family in addition to honoring those at dinner who have served our country in the past.
Finally, allow me to express how grateful I am for you. I carefully read each and every comment you make after these postings and am honored that you take the time. I am continuing to strive to be a better husband, daddy, and friend. Your conversations, writing, thoughts, and prayers are helping! Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your team.