This is the time of year when everyone walk around saying what they are thankful for. Many people will lie and express gratitude for things today and complain about them next week.  Some will mask reality to prevent family members from seeing just how out of control their lives really are.

What are the masks? You display an attitude that everything is great, when actually you just received notification that this is your last week with the company you’ve been with for 15 years.  You show a welcoming smile, when actually under your breath you are complaining about providing food for people that you really don’t like. You go all out of the way and make this grand feast with all the trimmings, yet you know the light company is coming to cut your lights off Friday. You arrive at family dinner, not because you want to but because you’ve been told it’s the right thing to do. You secretly wish the holidays would hurry up and pass so you can return to your life as a recluse.

Really, what do I have to be thankful for?

For many the holidays are merely reminders of all the pain they have experienced throughout the year.  As others are walking around complaining about spending time with family members, they are reminded how their loved one is no longer here. While others are complaining about people coming in making a mess of their homes, they are reminded how they lost their home in foreclosure last month. While some are complaining about only having only one day off work, they are reminded of the pink slip they received six months ago and how no prospects of a jobthankful seems near.

Really, what do I have to be thankful for?

We walk through life complaining about what we don’t have instead of being grateful for what we do have. We compare our lives to the lives of others but we never compare our blessings to the blessings of others. Why is that?

One reason is many of us don’t know what a true blessing is. We think having a lot of money, a big house, lots of materialistic items constitute being
blessed.  When in actuality having your health, having a sound mind, having the ability to love and to experience love are the true blessings.  If all the material things in life was to suddenly disappear and you only had your health and a sound mind, you could find a way of replenishing all the STUFF. If you have the ability to love and to experience love you will realize those things never really mattered in the first place.

Now don’t get it wrong we all would like nice things, at least I like nice things. But could you imagine how better this world would be if the “nice things” we showed gratitude for were the kindness we show to others? Like the smile we offered to the person we pass on the street just because. Or the kind words we gave to the person who was mean to us last week? Or the forgiveness we offered to that person that hurt us? Or how we showed love to that person that never showed love to us? Those are the nice things we should focus on.

You see true gratitude does not come from the outside it comes from within.  We must learn it is not what is provided to us but what we have to offer to others that provide the true opportunities for thanksgiving.

So be thankful for what?

Be thankful that things are as good as they are. Be thankful that you have been given another day on earth to do something good for someone else. Be thankful that even if your life is not as you would want it to be, it’s better than they life of those walking around not knowing what they have to be thankful for.

Until Next Time,