Thanks for nothing!
For much as I am loathe to admit it, we all seem to fall into that state of mind so easily these days. Where notions of want, scarcity and a focus on everything we lack over all that we love seem to hold unreasonable sway over our hearts and minds. It’s almost as though modern society with all of its relentless suggestions toward everything we need and simply MUST have, locks us in a covetous vice grip that only the most deeply soulful and self-aware people manage to avoid or escape.
It is so dreadfully easy to slip into thoughts and feelings of everything we lack and all we desire and feel we deserve that an ever present awareness and sense of abiding gratitude is as rare an occurrence as my children acting civilly in the grocery store. Both are alarmingly uncommon.
I was reading an article in a magazine the other day about teaching our over-indulged, entitled children to be grateful. While I cannot argue the need for gratitude, I most certainly do not believe that we should be pointing the finger solely at these unappreciative, spoiled brats we are all raising. As any child well knows, “it takes one to know one.” I think as many adults share this affliction as children. And generally speaking, when I have the unmistakable pleasure of running across a less than charming child, their parents are more often than not equally delightful. To be sure, kids are almost instinctively self- absorbed. It’s simply part of their learning curve. But the question is, if they are in the process of learning, what are we in the process of teaching? Do we readily and reflexively show, express and model gratitude? Do we speak of how blessed we are or do we whine about what we want? Do we outwardly resent what we don’t have or very consciously speak of our good fortune? Do we realize that “good fortune” is not to be found in the stuff we have, but the people we love, the laughter we share, the memories we savor, the relationships we treasure as a wealth beyond riches?
I could not with a straight face or sound conscience insist that I am not personally as shamefully guilty as the next person of allowing my thoughts to be high-jacked into dwelling on how I “wish” things were. Constantly delaying my sense of happiness to some undetermined point in the future at which time all the stars will line up and I will, at long last, be content. But each and every day I go to battle against my own reflexes that insist I will be happy when… For all of us, “when” is now and gratitude is a state of mind not something we will at long last feel when we arrive at some life destination or find a Porsche in the driveway. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think any of us would have our feelings hurt by a sports car in the driveway, but true Gratitude is, in every way, an inside job. It is a soulful awareness concerning what matters. What really, truly matters. Life, love, faith, health, joy, laughter, family and friends.
The pastor at church last Sunday had me laughing out loud as he recounted how he would have these moments where he would peek into his children’s rooms when they were sleeping, and the awareness of just how impossibly blessed he was would literally overwhelm him. Then he acknowledged that we all experience that tidal wave of love and how infinitely precious our children are…when they are asleep. All kidding aside, gratitude isn’t just what we experience when all is well. Gratitude isn’t getting a screaming deal on a flat screen TV or the “It” Chanel handbag. It is a deep and soulful knowing that carries us through the storms of life without being doubted or diminished. It is what centers our heart, our soul and our joy. It is where we rest in the Grace that is ever and always ours for the taking.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will thank all of you who have taken the time to allow my wayward thoughts, opinions and notions to cross your mind. As “time is at once the most valuable and perishable of all our possessions,” I feel humbled and honored that you would take the time to read my thoughts and to occasionally share yours. It is and always will be an honor and a privilege to hopefully reach your mind, touch your heart and share the stories of the journey we are all set upon.
Wishing you and yours a truly blessed Thanksgiving!
With deepest Gratitude,