Thanksgiving is just around the corner…again! There are many plans and preparation to be made for this special holiday. While we may get overwhelmed with budgets, trying to plan elaborate feasts,or making plans and accomodations for ourselves or relatives, it is easy to forget the reason for the season, those two words contained in the name Thanksgiving–Giving and thanks. This is a time for counting our blessings more than it is counting chairs for the table or money to be spent on the holiday. This Thanksgiving I will be giving thanks for many things. Here are the top ten in no particular order:
Health is everything. If you are not sound of body, it is hard to enjoy anything else in life. I am so appreciative of the fact that I am healthy even though God knows I don’t always treat my body like the temple it should be. I often take my general state of well being for granted even though I know how fast illness can set in and change lives. I need to give thanks to my body by treating it better and hoping that it will continue to carry me ably through this life.
I am also very grateful for the health of my loved ones-my family, friends, and pets. I know what a delicate balance health can be and I just want to appreciate every minute of health and happiness with those that I love.
2. My Job
A job is a major element in life. For most of us, our job takes up the majority of our days. Although I do not make as much money as I would like to, (how many of us do?) I am still grateful to have a job at all. I look around at many people I know who are currently unemployed and suffering due to the job recession and widespread hard economic times. The state I live in, Nevada, has been hit harder than most areas and unemployment rates are staggering. Many of my close friends and relatives have been looking for employment for months with no results. There is a general feeling of hopelessness and frustration that I sense coming from these people. Therefore, I am happy to have a job at all.
3. The roof over my head
The house I live in may not be large, it’s not filled with valuable furniture, and I rent it from a landlord but it is the place I call home. I am happy to have a place to come home to and take comfort in knowing that it is my safe and secure shelter. I am grateful for little things like the washer and dryer, my meager possesions, and the fenced in yard. I am happy to come home to my adorable dog and the love of my life. We may not have much, but we have all we need. I see so many people who are homeless, more so now than ever it seems. It is sometimes easy to look at people who have so much and feel sorry for ourselves for what we don’t have, especially in this country where shallow materialistic consumption is a well integrated part of our culture. However, it is only when we focus on all of those who have so much less than we do that we can truly appreciate all that we do have. For the things that I have, I am grateful and will be counting my blessings on Thanksgiving and hopefully remembering them every day.
4. Family and friends
Life would be so dismal without the people that I love being there to share it with. I know that I take these people for granted, often getting swept up in my own life and neglecting the chance to spend as much valuable time with them as I possibly can. I am so grateful for these wonderful people in my life and hope to remember to enjoy them while I can because life really is short, and those that we take for granted today could be gone from our lives tomorrow.I need to remember daily how thankful I am to have these loved ones in my life and let them know it as well. Even the seemingly insignificant times spent together should be cherished.
5. Thankful for what I’ve got
Even as a child I always wanted what everybody else had. It seemed to me that something else was always better. I wanted to go on expensive vacations like the families of my wealthier friends . I wanted karate lessons. I wanted to change my name. I wanted braces on my teeth like all my friends in third grade though I didn’t need them. I was always so busy thinking of what others had that I lost sight of what I had and failed to be thankful for these things. I realize now how selfish this attitude is, and how destructive and blinding envy can be. This realization strikes especially hard when I see somebody who has overcome great odds and is happy despite of them. For instance, when I see somebody who is physically or mentally handicapped, disfigured, or missing a limb. It turns out that a bad attitude is the worst disability a person can have. I am lucky to be able bodied and have a mind with which to make choices. I choose to be content for the many things I do have, right down to my pinky toe.
I do not yet know where I will be this Thanksgiving, but I can be reasonably sure that, just as every year, I will be eating an extravagant feast no matter which relatives I end up spending this day with. The promise of a good meal is more than many people in this world can hope for, for there are so many in need who can not even count on a daily meal. Perhaps this holiday season I should make a point to be somewhere where I can help some of these people. Maybe that is what we all need to do to realize how lucky we really are.
7. The United States of America
Sure, this country is far from perfect-there are many deep-seated problems in the United States just as there are in nearly every inch of land inhabited by mankind. However, we as Americans are blessed to live in such a prosperous and beautiful land. Despite, or perhaps because of these blessings, we are a spoiled and ungrateful nation. We fail to realize how fortunate we are to live in a country where some semblance of peace is maintained. Most of us do not know how it is to go to sleep at night worrying about bombs or gunfire from war. We are relatively sheltered from mass famine, disease, and death. Some people know little else. We, as Americans, are able to express our differences of opinions without fearing for our lives. We may not have all of the freedoms and rights that we are supposed to be garanteed in this country, but we have more than most people in other countries can ever hope for. For all of this we should give thanks, and take advantage of what we have graciously, because everything is fleeting. From the first Thanksgiving in America, this has been a land rich in resources and abundant with opportunity. Yet, groups of people throughout history have suffered in the wake of this country’s prosperity. We must also be grateful to those who have suffered so because our freedom came at a price to them- a price that is still being paid by many while we ungratefully and thoughtlessly reap the benefits.
8. Being alive
Have you ever pondered how it is that you came to be, well….you? It is a miracle just to be alive, so I want to give thanks each day that I am on this earth. Just to exist is a wonderful gift!
9. Ability to become something more
I am thankful that I have the opportunity to make more of myself in this life. Despite where they come from, people in this country are able to choose their paths. I have made the choices and have been given the chances to rise above through education and perserverence. I am grateful that I have the ability to do so and I am thankful to all those who have supported me along the way.
10. Our Planet Earth
No, I am not a total tree hugging hippie, but I really am thankful for the beauty of nature and wildlife that I am fortunate to be surrounded by. From the orange leaves falling off the Autumn trees to the cornocopia of bountiful foods and plants that grow here, this is a beautiful planet. I love to see wild animals in their natural habitat, to swim in clean waters, to just sit in a forest and listen to the birds. How wonderful are all of these things that exist on our planet. How strong and yet how fragile. I am thankful that I was raised to appreciate this natural beauty and to cherish every plant and animal. I am glad that I have lived in a time where these elements still exist for I fear they are diminishing. Most of all, I am thankful for the way our Mother Earth continues to give to us human beings when we take so much and give so very little back.
The problem with most things on this earth is that there is neither enough giving nor enough thanks.