“Every day is a day to be thankful. Life’s abundance has no limit, and gratitude is what keeps that abundance flowing. In every circumstance there is something for which to be thankful. Even when there seems to be nothing else, there is hope.” ~Ralph Marston
Thanksgiving is a time of year to remind us to be thankful for our blessings. However — how many of us take the time daily (all year round) to be grateful or thankful for what we are given? Thanksgiving is a special day set aside to celebrate our blessings, our family and loved ones, as well as other special meanings unique to each individual.
I read a very special story a few months ago as it put me in the mind of what Thanksgiving and being thankful really means and how we can all learn from it and hopefully apply it to our own lives and circumstances. I wanted to share it as it touched my heart so much; I know it will touch yours.
How often do we read or hear about people in really bad circumstances and feel sorry for them or even the opposite and become judgmental and maybe think; that’s their fault because they created their circumstance? It’s pretty often if we watch the news or read news updates on a daily basis. I was reading an article a few months back about a homeless man who was hungry, cold, tired, living with poor health and had no family and it appeared no one to love him. It broke my heart that anyone who is homeless has to go through such circumstances. However, one might think the man would give up hope, become bitter, angry, depressed and lonely because life appears to have dealt him a bad hand, right? Instead, the article went on to say how the man makes a point every day to go feed the birds with crumbs or food that he can find in the trash or if a Good-Samaritan offers him some food, he shares it. He was asked how he felt about being homeless and he replied, “I have the air in my lungs and I’m grateful for everything I have been blessed with but most important I am grateful for three things; that I’m alive, that I have the ability to love, (and with tears starting to fill his eyes) his third gratitude …that I have my beloved birds.” I was in tears when I read the article, despite his desperate circumstances, he chooses to live in gratitude and love, and he is still thankful to be alive. The very little he has, he shares with birds (in which case most of us would just ignore and pass by). It really touched my heart and made me realize how much many of us take for granted: our health, our home, clean clothes, our family, our freedom, our friends & relationships, our voice to help those in need, our safe and warm bed at night, the fresh food we eat daily without worry and many, many more.
It’s so easy in life to become bitter, upset, angry, depressed and so on when things do not go our way or when we have a set expectation that we “should have something.” This story led me to start thinking about — how often do we really pause to appreciate what we do have in life instead of worrying about the things we don’t have? If only we could learn to live as simply as the homeless man, the world would be a much simpler and pleasant place.
If others have the things we desire most: (money, material gains, relationships, etc), jealousy often sets in. Instead of becoming jealous or bitter because they have something and we don’t, we should be genuinely happy for them and remember that we also “have” in other ways. Life isn’t a competition to have the most or acquire material gains. We believe that is true because it is a human belief. However, when we stop to really dissect our life, we are all truly blessed maybe just in different ways. We have to make an effort to stop and recognize our blessings and really be appreciative and thankful as they could easily be taken from us. The homeless man could easily be angry or blame the world or have all kinds of negativity and we would most likely validate that — giving energy and recognition to his situation. However, instead of focusing on all the things he doesn’t have, he makes the conscious choice to focus on what he does have. We should all take a lesson from him and realize we also have what he has been blessed with and probably much more. If we have equal to him and a little more, then what more could we possibly want?
We have everything we already need within our soul. We are born only with our soul and we die with only our soul. In other words, we are not born with a bank account and die taking it with us. I am not of the belief that God will love us more based on what material gains we acquire in life. However, I am of the belief that God will grant us more in life if we live with gratitude in our hearts for what we already do have and if we hold love for all those we encounter every day. In other words, we shouldn’t over look the birds the homeless man fed — he offered the food from his heart and the birds gave him love in return (in which he did not receive from other humans).
From reading this story, I have taken the time to reflect on all my blessings and what I really have in my life. I am not only thankful for Thanksgiving Day and the special day of thanks but I am also thankful for all the things that God grants each of us on a daily basis that we may not even realize is a true blessing:
- Body (Our vessel for life)
- Heart (Intuition, guidance and ability to love and hold compassion as well as pump blood throughout our bodies giving us life)
- Family (Blood related or not)
- Spouse, Significant Other (Lesson in love, unconditional acceptance, learn from and heal with)
- Health (Without it we cannot live fully)
- All Senses (Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, Smell)
- Immune System
- Arms & Hands
- Legs & Feet
- Mind (Gives us the ability to reason)
- Sunrise / Sunset
- Nature (Such beauty)
- Life Lessons (Helps us evolve spiritually)
- Teachers (Both School and general people that enter our lives)
- Change (Challenges us to understand the benefits of change and to learn that nothing remains constant, everyday life is always transitioning through relationships, tribulations and successes)
- Pain (To help us appreciate, recognize and become stronger)
- Loss (Teach us the value of living in the now and to appreciate what we have)
- Fear (To guide us in our growth)
- Disappointment (Help us understand what really matters most)
- Sadness (To appreciate human emotions)
- Happiness (To learn we deserve it and all the beauty in life)
- Solar System (Support Earth)
- Rain (To nurture the earth and all its plants and animals)
- Oxygen (Making life possible)
- Earth (The most beautiful place to live)
- Animals (For their beauty, complexity and sacrifice)
- Pets (Unconditional love, acceptance & soul mate connections)
- Food (To nurture our bodies)
- Life (Without our life, we wouldn’t understand any of this)
- Time (God’s way of giving us another chance)
- God (Our creator, leader and blessings of unconditional love)
- Thankful most of all for YOU, you matter and make the world a better place
Many blessings to you and all those you know and love on this day and every day. What do you have to be thankful and grateful for? Feel free to share…