I’m writing this during lunch the day before Thanksgiving (2015).
And I’m typing with greasy rotisserie chicken eating fingers, in training for tomorrow’s big turkey bird.
My wife prefers the rotisserie chicken breast, so I’m gnoshing on the wings, legs, and thighs. Yes. That’s six pieces of chicken. Like I said, I’m in training.
Sitting at my desk drinking a Coke Zero, eating chicken and Wavy Lays potato chips, and thinking about gratitude (given that it’s the day before Thanksgiving).
That one sentence includes plenty to be thankful for:
- Coke Zero is the best carbonated non-alcoholic beverage easily purchased anywhere.
- Rotisserie chicken from Costco. Cheap. Delicious.
- Wavy Lays. You can’t eat just one.
- Also, I’m on lunch break at a job. So I have the opportunity to work to support my family. Thankful for that.
Technically, I’m off already because we’re closing early for Thanksgiving. I’m thankful that I can surprise the family a few minutes earlier than expected.
To be frank, if ever there was a moment in my lifetime to be thankful, it is right now.
I’m grateful for my relative safety at this very moment (knocking on wood as I type). I’m thankful for my family’s relative safety and good health.
Right now, there are millions of people who are not living in the comfort and safety that I enjoy. I’m not sure if I appreciate the depth of the blessing I’m swimming in.
I do not need survival skills. I don’t need to beg. I am in good stead with the governments that control my town, state, and country.
I look at my kids and my wife and consider what it would be like to be one of the many varieties of refugee that are running from corrupt governments and violent terrorist groups. I’m so safe that even typing that sentence feels weird and melodramatic.
One thing is for sure: There’s nothing I’ve done personally that has made me worthy of the blessings I experience. There’s nothing I’ve done that makes me worthy of any of the second chances and opportunities and good friends and family that I have enjoyed.
I’ve seen people much more deserving of blessing than I draw the short straw time and time again.
My point is this: I have no choice but to be grateful. For good and bad and everywhere in between, I’m thankful.
It can all be taken in a flash. My health. A family member. My job. My freedom.
There are no guarantees. And there is nothing I’m entitled to.
But there is a responsibility.
Gratitude itself requires something of us.
See, if we have the awareness of thankfulness and gratitude, then we should be growing in humility and a heart toward service.
Gratitude doesn’t produce a ‘Thank God I’m not in their shoes…. good luck suckers!’ type of attitude.
Gratitude should land us in a place that says, “If I’ve been given something I don’t deserve, then how can I help others get something that they may or may not deserve?”
And if we practice gratitude with enough regularity, we might discover ourselves thankful for circumstances that we never would have thanked anybody for. And that, my friends, is a key to giving back even more…to take the crap hands we’ve been dealt and leverage them somehow, someway for the good of others.
So… Happy Thanksgiving!
You deserve a good one! And you owe it to yourself and to those around you to be thankful and have a little gratitude. It might be the key out of whatever mess you are in (or think you’re in).
Enjoy your turkey. I’m gonna go throw these chicken bones away and go buy my wife’s favorite Thanksgiving dinner rolls at a beautiful, clean grocery store. See… another blessing. A Publix. I’m thankful for the dang Publix.
What are you thankful for?
To see and/or hear an incredible story of gratitude amid very trying circumstances, check out this podcast, The Transformative Power of Suffering, with Michelle Cushatt (read her blog’s about page for even more high-quality gratitude action) and Michael Hyatt. Powerful, powerful story about perspective in the face of cancer – a potentially career debilitating and life-threatening form.
Thanks, Michele, for sharing your story!