“What?!?” My friend exclaimed when I told him the topic for this article. “What’s there to be thankful for?” My friend had a valid point. Let’s face it, we’re in the middle of an epidemic, there are protests to open the economy at the risk of the health of millions, disparity between the rich and poor increases; there’s armed conflict on almost every continent; and the political maneuvering that claims headlines worldwide is both pathetic and tragic. Spend thirty seconds on social media and you’ll see that much of the world isn’t feeling very grateful right now. The world may not be feeling very grateful right now and maybe that’s the problem – we aren’t feeling grateful. We’re so overwhelmed by the megaphones blasting doom and gloom that we’ve lost sight of what is good and right and positive in our lives. Personally, I know when I’m not feeling grateful, it’s because I’m too focused on me, or too distracted by the noise of the world. Experience teaches me that when I look outside myself and focus on others, I find many reasons to be grateful. G.K. Chesterton makes an interesting point: How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it … You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers. It’s interesting how my gratitude increases when I consider and appreciate what other people do well, how they add value, how they contribute to society, how they bring joy to others. A friend of mine is a small business owner who could justifiably be complaining about everything going on, and how the world isn’t fair. Instead, he’s invested much of his time, energy, and resources to get supplies to nurses, doctors, and other essential staff who are ill equipped right now. When he isn’t doing that, he’s somehow making time to do a story time for kids. Even in these times of trial, I look at what I do have– life, health, purpose, loving family, dear friends, valued clients – I realize how blessed I am. When was the last time you intentionally demonstrated genuine gratitude to another person? True gratitude is mirrored. It brings a lift in spirit to both the giver and receiver, who then pass their gratitude on to others as well. In these challenging times, let’s embrace a positive message. Let’s be thankful for our blessings, for each other, for what is good in life. Let’s uplift and encourage each other. Let’s celebrate the courage, empathy, and goodwill of humanity with gratitude in our hearts.
- Davis Taylor and Gaines Taylor