In the United States, we just celebrated the “Thanksgiving” holiday. Many other countries have their
own versions of “Thanksgiving.” But thanksgiving is not something that should be celebrated on one
particular day of the year. It is good that a day has been chosen for this, but it is up to each and every one of us to be “giving thanks” all year long.
Sometimes we look around at our financial situation and think that there is nothing to be thankful for. Other times we glance at our relationship or health challenges and think that giving thanks borders on the absurd. Yet, if we look around us, we can see that we are not alone in our trials, that many others are having to face similar problems.
Being thankful for life itself is a way of making life better. When we look away from our problems, even for a short time, and generate joy in our hearts, we find that the world seems to change a bit. I do not know why this is so and I don’t really need to know. All I know is that the universe seems to respond quickly to a grateful heart.
A grateful heart is, perhaps, a heart full of “greatness.” Maybe, the way it works is that when we break focus with our problems and we take a break from being miserable, the River of Life flows more gently and more fully through our being.
Try it for yourself sometime. Stop what you’re doing for one or two minutes and quiet your mind. If you’re really frightened by appearances around you or if your problems seem insurmountable, you may find that stilling your mind becomes a very difficult task. But with a little practice, a minute or two at a time, it becomes easier to do.
During this minute or two, think of two or three things or events you are or should be grateful for. Feel how fortunate you are to have them. For example, I consider myself extremely blessed to have had my two children, Malika and Jonathan, grow up the way they have. True, there were times when I considered running away from home. And yes, there were moments of anxiety and concern when I thought to myself that children were created for the sole purpose of inflicting insanity on their parents. But don’t most of us feel that way once in a while?
Yet, with all the ups and downs of being a parent, I consider myself the most fortunate person on earth to have Malika and Jonathan as my children. They have taught me patience, unconditional love and much more than I can ever list here. I have learned from them. I could not be who I am without the experience of being their father. And for this, I’m grateful. I give thanks.
How about unfortunate situations. Am I happy or grateful that my wife died when she was only in her thirties? Should I be thankful that I was left with two young children to raise and an entire life to reorganize? Of course not! But I am grateful that she was my wife for the years we spent together. She was only nineteen when we were married. I am grateful for her love, for her kindness and compassion and for making it possible for me to be what I am today. We could all turn tragedy into triumph and disaster into divine outcomes if we maintain a spirit of gratitude and if we listen to our heart and soul. It is in our quiet times, in our “thanksgiving” moments that we can hear the universe sing to us. If we listen carefully, we can hear it say, “You are my child and I love you dearly. Look around you. All that I have is yours. Everything is yours. It always has been. Please unwrap your gifts.”