“The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes. It has enough lush forests, flowered fields and sandy beaches. It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it.” – Michael Josephson
It’s coming up to that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the Christmas holiday season (although that is closing in on us like a freight train with no brakes)–I’m talking about Thanksgiving.
For many, a purposeful celebration of Thanksgiving doesn’t happen. We don’t celebrate it here in Australia, and a lot of other countries don’t have a celebratory event centred on what it is to be thankful. For those that do (Germany’s Erntedankfest, Japan’s Labour Thanksgiving Day, and of course North America’s Thanksgiving days), it presents an opportunity to shift from the everyday diversions of life, and spend a time focused on food, family, and thankfulness.
Thankfulness is a very important quality to have, and one we really shouldn’t just think about once a year. With so much tragedy and misfortune in the world today, it’s easy to focus on the less pleasant things riddled through our lives. Too often, the good things we share, experience, own or divulge in are underrated–made deceivingly insignificant under the shadows of negativity slithering around us. We allow those shadows to lengthen and hold precedence far too often, when in reality, there is so much to be thankful for.
Do you have a car? Be thankful for that, and realise what a privilege it is. Do you live in a house? Be thankful. There are millions who don’t because they can’t afford it, or have just lost it in a natural disaster. Are you healthy? That is something to be truly thankful for. There are others who would give almost anything to have their health restored.
Be thankful if you can eat food every day; if you have clothes to wear; if you were/ are able to go to school; if you have a job, if you can read, if you own a TV, a phone, a computer; and if you have family and friends who care for you. As you can imagine the list can go on and on. Even if you have only some of those things, and not others, what you do have is still something to be thankful for.
Our thankfulness should dominate our outlook. If it doesn’t maybe it’s time to work on changing that. You only get to live once. Wasting your time on regrets, insecurities, negativities, disillusionment, unforgiveness, and resentment is just that–a waste. Better to take what you have, make the most of it, and work toward improving the possibilities of tomorrow, than brooding on your inner torments, or constantly looking over your shoulder into the past, and tripping over from one day to the next, as a result.
A great story to remember is the ‘Old Cherokee Tale of Two Wolves’:
One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’
The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’
So let’s look ahead at the coming days with thankfulness. Let’s pause and draw in from the here and now. Be present. Be thankful for the time you have right in this moment. What you dwell on and think about the most will shape your world. So, shape it deliberately, and shape it well.
“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” – W. T. Purkiser