I have problems with giving thanks at Thanksgiving, because I do not feel thankful enough. But my problems just present me with reasons to give thanks.
Life, Limb and Mind
Descartes said “I think, therefore I am”. No matter how grumpy and miserable I may be, and no matter how dark my thoughts become: they prove I am alive. I should be thankful for my life.
I am reading this text on a computer screen, or on paper, or in Braille. Perhaps a friend is reading it to me. I have some physical senses. I should be thankful for them.
I understand what I read: the words, the sentences, and the intent. Some people’s minds do not function as well as mine. While feeling sympathy for them, I should be thankful that I can think.
Food and Possessions
I have the time to read this. Great hunger would have kept me from these words; great thirst would have made this a luxury I could ill afford. For sufficient food and drink, I give thanks.
I have clothes and shelter. For enough comfort to think about Thanksgiving, I give thanks.
I am not fleeing a fire in my home. For enough security for myself and my possessions, I give thanks.
If at least one person cares about me, I am wealthy beyond belief.
If I care about one person, I have a reason to live.
If I make the world just one bit better for someone today, I have made that difference.
If my only friend is a pet, or a pigeon in the park, I can contribute to their good.
For any one of these relationships, I give my thanks.
Perhaps I have further relationships: friends, relatives, neighbours or even mere acquaintances whose names I have forgotten. For them, I give thanks.
Impersonal but Important Gratitude
My country has its history. People have struggled to establish and preserve the nation where I live. To those who toiled for my country, I am grateful.
Others continue to work for our common good. Perhaps I have met selfish people recently. But I know there are some who strive for the good of humanity. To them, I am grateful.
At least one writer thought enough about me to write these words. Perhaps he did not describe me well; maybe he glossed over my deepest pain. To any author who spares a thought about the reader, I am grateful.
Solving My Problems by Giving Thanks, and Giving, at Thanksgiving
Perhaps I can solve my problems by giving thanks in a practical way. Might I take the time to say hello to folks who might appreciate it? Invite them for coffee or for a meal?
Can I afford a Thanksgiving gift basket for a friend in need? Send Thanksgiving cards to loved ones far away? Volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter?
For the freedom to choose to do good, I am grateful. Might I simply give thanks for the blessings I have?