As we approach Thanksgiving 2011, many of us are very thankful for many different things. Each individual heart is pricked differently. What touches yours might not excite mine, and the other way around. Our lives are not alike, and neither are our expressions of gratitude. I laughed last week when one lady posted on a Facebook page I was reading, “I’m blocking you until December 1 because I don’t care what you are thankful for this year.” She was referring to a challenge a friend had made asking all of her contacts to list one thing that they are truly thankful for each day in the month of November.
Personally, I love the challenge and it helps to keep me focused on being grateful. When a person is truly grateful, he or she has little time to be truly hateful, I have found. And I am blessed to read what others have found to be happy and grateful for in their lives. Their blessings and good gifts filled with acceptance and appreciation incite me to do better, rejoice more and be grateful in my heart for my blessings and gifts.
Several others joined this writer’s view and posted their feelings about not wanting to read what others say thank you for in their own life. One said, “I am glad you wrote that because I was just about to write something not so nice.”
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when two days later, the original woman wrote an expressive thank you note on the site to a friend who had kept her child for her. Maybe we did not need to read that, huh? She was grateful when the service or gift or kindness applied to her. It’s all in the perspective. As individuals, we have such tunnel vision and usually end up focusing on our own person, our family members, our home, our school, our business, or our community. Truthfully, we are all in this thing called life together, and it is best if we all just try to get along as best we can.
Being grateful for most folks is a learned art. We are not born with a built-in mechanism that automatically says, “Be thankful. Be grateful. Express your appreciation.” Children have to be taught manners and how to say thank you and mean it. I still have a difficult time getting mine to write thank-you notes for gifts or expressions of love. With the advent of the Internet, many have never written a real, old-fashioned thank-you note on paper with a stamp and envelope. I still like getting them and treasure the kind words for years on end.
We are happiest when we are grateful. We think of our benefits. We think of the good things both God and man have given to us. We think of good health, our homes, family members, jobs to go to each day, health care and hope. The Book of Psalms is filled with praise to God for His good gifts to His children.
“They believed they his words, they sang his praises” (Psalm 106:12).
Psalm 107 begins with “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.” I especially like Verse 29 of Psalm 107, where we read, “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” We who live on the Bolivar Peninsula can identify with this thought. We should be very grateful that in God’s mercy and wisdom, we have enjoyed another hurricane-free year.
Blessed be the name of God. Let’s take time this holiday season to thank Him for His protection and goodness to us. And let’s not be ashamed to share our thankfulness with those around us. It pleases God and perhaps helps others along life’s way.
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com. Be sure to get Brenda’s new book, “Morning Glories,” from Amazon.com or from Ted Henley at (409) 363-7286.