What makes you thankful? Truly thankful? What makes your heart sing? What puts spring in your step and purpose in your life? Is it your children? Your partner? Your job? Your home? Your finances? God? Whatever is it and whoever you believe it is provided by, be it God or the Universe or your own hard work, are you thankful?
Being thankful is a choice we make. It does not depend on circumstances although it can be swayed by them. When I look back over today I am truly grateful. Its been a lovely day and I have a lot to be thankful for. For those who might be reading this and thinking “well good for you, aren’t you lucky?”. Well actually not no. I have already said in minor detail that my family and I are going through what for us is a trying time….. but I am still thankful. And you have something to be thankful for also, even if it’s only the fact that you woke up this morning. And yes I know some people would prefer not to have.
I have never really been an optimist or a pessimist either. I usually hover somewhere between the two. So I am not a glass half full person. But even so, I still count my blessings and I’m still thankful. Because (and you should never start a sentence with that word I know) I am grateful for God and other people. This morning I got to sit in my favourite coffee-house with a special friend and put the world to rights as they say. Friends are particularly a blessing at the moment. When I came home from town someone had kindly put a gift card for that coffee shop through the door. The last few weeks someone has mysteriously left a bag of groceries outside our door also.
Now what do I do? Do I concentrate on the fact that my husband is unemployed at the moment and things are difficult financially? Or do I rejoice that other people are being God’s hands and feet and helping us out. I choose the latter. It’s not always easy, It’s not always my first reaction but I try as much as I can to be thankful.
I do, when I think about it, have a lot to be thankful for. I have a loving husband, 4 beautiful children, a nice house, a wonderful group of friends, most of whom I have cried down the phone to! Most importantly I have a loving God who thinks I’m the bees knees and calls me the apple of his eye.
The bible speaks about the Golden Rule. This is discussed in Matthew 7:12.” So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” This for Christians is the motto we would do well to live by. Even if you aren’t a Christian it’s still good sense.
I’ve noticed as I’ve got older that mans humanity to man has worsened. Some people only seem out for what they can get for themselves. As long as they are ok it doesn’t matter to others. People beat others on the street in broad daylight and others are either like the men in the Good Samaritan and pass by or they are scared to intervene in case they face retribution themselves.
However, as in the tragic case of Lee Rigby in London some people are still willing to stand up to bullies and murderers. You may wonder why a post about being thankful has taken such a serious turn but it’s because I want to highlight the things we can do for others so they will be thankful also.
This afternoon I watched the film “Argo”. If I’m honest I had little compulsion to try it but my husband was out for a few hours so I decided to suspend my preconceptions for a few hours. And I’m glad I did. It was mesmerising. Well directed and well acted and all that but it was the storyline that was the attention grabber.
I’m going to assume you haven’t seen it and give you a brief heads up. It’s based on the true story of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980. The Iran embassy is stormed and 6 Americans escape to a safe place. However tension is rife in the country and they need to be liberated. To cut a long story short a government official , Tony Mendes, arranges an elaborate escape for them based on a fake movie being made. Towards the end of the film he is instructed by the government to pull out and leave the hostages behind. But because he wants to be responsible for the hostages he stays and gets the job done.
My point is, what if he had been a jobsworth who listened to his orders and left them there? I have no doubt they would have been found and executed. But he had compassion for his fellow-man. There was nothing in it for him.
In America they have a system called Suspended coffees, a cup of coffee paid for in advance as an act of charity. I wish they would implement this in the coffee shops in my town. I have asked them. A homeless person can then go into the coffee shop and ask for one of these suspended coffees and know they don’t have to pay for it.
You could call it paying it forward, or a random act of kindness, it really doesn’t matter as long as you act on that compulsion. It could be financial, paying for someones shopping or car tyres. It could be giving someone a lift home(another thing I was blessed with today!). It might just be the gift of half an hour of your time or a smile you bestow on a stranger you pass in the street.
For some people in society life is extremely difficult and if you ever have a chance to help someone in need you should take it. Not for the warm fluffy feeling it gives, although that’s nice, but because we all need to look out for each other. Whether you believe in God, or Karma or the Cosmic universe things we do usually have a habit of coming back to us.
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38).
So what do you think? Are you thankful? Or do you think as a society we have given up on each other?
Till next time.