This is the Thanksgiving season. Usually, that means wedging a quick “what I am thankful for” between bites of turkey and dressing and kickoff.
We know better. No one I know wants to be thought of as an “ingrate,” that horrible creature who does not recognize the good things in our lives. Yet, we put together a day to “count our blessings” just to make sure we got that covered.
I suppose it is a disease caused by affluence. Like the uncleaned spot on the carpet that becomes invisible, most of our blessings wear a costume. The costume is the figure of “normal.”
For over a year, I have done something different. In the mornings, I spend some time at a coffee shop getting caffeinated and clear. I do many things that benefit just me. One is to write in a journal.
Every day, as the clock ticks down to leaving time, I have one last thing to do. Ten times I complete the sentence that starts with “I am thankful for…”
But it’s not a list and sometimes it gets repetitive. What makes it fresh for me is I always add a “why.”
What’s on the list?
Sometimes, it is simple things like a clean bed, good food, and good plumbing. (This usually happens after an annual trip to Nicaragua.) Other times, I find myself getting deeper.
A regular on my list is my family…wife, kids, and grandkids. They love me in spite of myself.
Over the past several months, I am writing about my life for my grandkids and beyond. Out of that my list expanded. I am thankful for my parents. They shaped me and molded me. Their sacrifice is what made my life what it is.
Teachers and mentors. They poured time and attention into me. I have learned so much from how to write with specifics to how to speak in public to how to handle the crises of life.
Lately, it has been my life in general. Looking at the particulars of a child’s experience to a mature view, I have learned I have had a good life. The bumps and bruises made me stronger. The good times made me comfortable.
At times, I wonder why I live the kind of life I do in a place like the United States with all the comforts. I see others who have none of that.
The only answer I have is I have been blessed by God’s grace.
Don’t wait for the last Thursday in November to find one thing to say before you can eat. Develop a habit of looking at your life every day. Do you need to express that gratitude to someone? Then do it.
Thanksgiving is a season but gratitude must be a habit.