I confess that I’ve now started this Thanksgiving blog post five or six times and then deleted what I'd written. I had lofty goals of writing a beautiful tribute to everything for which I'm thankful. (And let me say that I am not thankful for that silly rule about never ending a sentence with a preposition.) What I wound up with sounded either insipid and saccharine-y (and we all know my position on artificial sweeteners), or came across sounding oddly ungrateful. So, instead of being “normal” and writing a glowing homage to the many blessings that overflow in my life, I thought I’d write instead about why we should be thankful for the tiny things we often overlook. The end result is a list of questions related to situations I often hear people complain about. I'm sure none of you can relate to any of those situations (because you're far too noble), so feel free to share this post with someone who can.
Do you find it difficult to be thankful and give thanks for your daily to do list? Stop for a moment and give thanks that you even have a to do list. Many in this country no longer have a to do list because they were laid off or their company went under. Give thanks that you're overly busy, even if you hate your job. At least you have one.
Are you frustrated by your domestic duties and that no one else in the house helps? (Every mom knows what I'm talking about.) Be thankful you have a roof overhead requiring such chores. Then take a drive downtown and pay careful attention to the expressions on the faces of those standing outside missions waiting to get a bed. There are many who would love to have a place to call their own and to know where they’re going to sleep every night. Cleaning their own toilet would be a blessing to them.
Are you tired of the old tile and wallpaper in your bathroom? Give thanks that you have indoor plumbing. I’m serious about this one. When we lived in Mexico, we didn’t have indoor plumbing for a while. Every flush is a blessing to me now. If you're fed up because your kids used all the hot water, stop and be sincerely thankful that you have hot water. Again, I speak from personal experience. I’ve lived in two different countries where we didn’t have hot water. Cold showers suck in any language.
Are you feeling frustrated because a clerk or server or teacher isn’t being nice or treating you with respect? Give thanks that you’re not dealing with the pain that person is. There’s a reason they are so nasty. Be thankful you’re not carrying their burdens, then go out of your way to be nice to them. Big tips make a huge difference. Some day they'll appreciate your kindness.
Frustrated because your job or relationship is too confining? Be thankful you’re not in prison.
Frustrated by traffic and people who drive 10 miles under the speed limit? Me too. Get over it.
In all seriousness, stop taking the easy way out and giving thanks for the "big" blessings in your life. Start making an effort to notice and be sincerely grateful for the little blessings that abound in your life. Then make a conscious choice to be aware of them on a continual basis. You’ll soon find more blessings in your life than you thought possible. I dare you. Try it.
This post was written in support of the Epic Change organization. Please click here: http://epicchange.org/donate.php