We here in America have officially been in the “Thanksgiving” mode for the past couple of weeks. It’s interesting to see all of the folks on the Internet expressing thanks for so many different things. Much of the time they are expressing thanks for the small things that touch their lives every day.
To me that is wonderful! How often do we say thank you when some extra special or extraordinary thing is done for us? Yet the small things, the everyday things are often overlooked. Do we forget the phone call of encouragement, the note that says I care? What about the cup of coffee or tea someone brings you. What about the person who goes out of their way to speak to you or be nice to you. Sometimes folks do something that makes us feel good when they don’t really intend.
Saying “thank you,” is important, even if it is not always expected. I like this little story about being thankful: “Grandpa, I wanted to say “thank you,” said the young lady.” What are you thanking me for?” asked the old man. The young lady replied, “I noticed that when you sneeze, you’ve learned to put your hand in front of your mouth.” “Of course,” explained Grandpa. “How else can I catch my teeth?”
There are times in our lives when it seems there is nothing for which to be thankful. We have all been there, all felt disappointment, all felt alone and deserted. But when you start looking at the small things in life, you can always find something for which to be thankful.
I’m reminded of the movie Pollyanna in which a little orphan girl, who has had a very difficult life, plays what she calls, “The Glad Game.” She takes time to look at each aspect of a situation and fine one thing for which she can be glad. I understand just how difficult that may be, but it can be done. (If you haven’t watched the movie for a long time, maybe it’s time to do so again.)
Most of our disappointments in life are tied to the physical world, our house, our job, our car, our friends, our families. As a Christian we learn (hopefully) to reorient our thinking to understand that these things are only temporary. The things that really count are waiting for us beyond our life here on earth. David writes about this in Psalm 39:4-7 where he says: “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”
One of the best known verses in the scripture comes from the Apostle Paul when he wrote: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) These weren’t just words in some motivational book, they are words from someone who lived a very difficult life, yet remembered what and who he was living for. Maybe we should try and do the same thing.
I am Thankful for each of you!
Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is the Director of World Christian Literature Outreach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.