I consider myself fortunate in thousands of ways. When we truly think about what we have, as well as what we don’t have to deal with, a staggering number of blessings surrounds each of us. This is true even in hard times.
Without getting into overlapping circles of gratitude, five areas stand out for me.
Where I Can Live
Beginning with where I live, the greatest wonder in my case is trying to grasp how I could have been born in one nation where opportunities for my class of people were limited. I know what I’ve fought through to get to how I exist today after adopting and being adopted by the USA. My opportunities include:
- Using talents I’m actually allowed to develop and receiving encouragement for doing so
- Achieving some of my dreams for myself in the face of repeated hostility and criticism on several fronts
- Facing down bullies of all stripes.
Food to Eat
I have food to eat when so many do not. I share, and choose “my” charities carefully, so that limited but grateful donations are not wasted. The poem that begins Because I have been given much, I, too, must give… was written by Grace Noll Crowell and is included in Baptist and LDS hymnals. Music was written by Philip Landgrave, a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
There is also another beautiful poem for Thanksgiving:
Oh, God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me
to remember the jobless;
When I have a warm home,
help me to remember the homeless;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer;
And remembering, help me
to destroy my complacency
and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough
to help, by word and deed,
those who cry out
for what we take for granted.
A Thanksgiving Prayer
by Rev. Samuel F. Pugh (1904 – 2007)
A Choice of Where to Shop
When my cupboards or the ‘fridge are getting bare, it’s usually because I’ve been scrambling with work and haven’t had the energy to go to one of several stores nearby.
Intrinsic to having food to eat are other hidden opportunities for gratitude. They include having a choice of where to shop! Unless we have deliberately chosen the slower, quieter pace of a small community, we are not limited to one bakery, one greengrocer, one butcher shop, and one dry goods store.
Having food to eat means I have a job. It comes with a heavy price of time investment and health issues. Yet being allowed to work from home – still within my employer’s time constraints – is a privilege few have. I don’t socialize on my employer’s time. Sour grapes people, including co-workers in other departments, exhibit jealousy because some of us work from home. They think we are free to come and go as we please. For the most part, only hard-working, trained copywriters enjoy that level of freedom in life!
A Roof Over My Head
I have a roof over my head. The costs of retaining and maintaining it can weigh heavily but praise the Lord, I am not homeless, sleeping on a sidewalk, bereft of even the medicines I so much need. If I were homeless, I’d be hoping and praying someone fortunate would not look on me with loathing and disgust because I can’t function as they do. I’d be pleading with Jesus that others will open their hearts and minds to spare a few dollars for the charities that combine their resources to help me and thousands like me.
The house may not be what I want or exactly where I need it to be but it is my house and home.
In sum, I am so grateful for where I can live, for having food to eat, for having a choice of where to shop, for having a job, and for having a roof over my head. May we all keep our blessings in mind.