“What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?”
Those were the words on the little plaque on the coffee shop wall, and they pretty much stopped me in my tracks.
I think of myself as a pretty appreciative person. I know I’m lucky to live where I do, and I look up often at the sky, the stars, the branches of the trees, and breathe in deeply the aromas of the sweet nature around me. I realize I’m a member of the Lucky Gene Club in more ways than one: I was born into a loving, well-educated family in a country where every right and privilege are granted to me. I don’t worry much about the provenance of my next meal.
But it goes a lot deeper. I would hate to wake up tomorrow and not be able to hear, taste or see. I take for granted that the lights will come on when I flick that switch. I assume my bed and blanket will be available to me each night.
Hot water in the shower! There’s something I would truly hate to lose. Shoes that fit. A husband I can laugh with, friends that know my story, parents that understand when I gripe about my siblings. Heck, I’m thankful for my siblings.
I’ve traveled enough off the beaten path to witness people who own one set of clothes. One. I’ve seen families that live in cardboard boxes and must walk everywhere, and carry every drop of water they use for drinking, cooking, and washing. No plumbing, which also means no toilet. No electricity. No job. It’s stressful, and even the bare essentials of survival are the focus of their days.
I’ve visited care facilities where people are lonely and their lives are vacant of laughter and purpose.
I’ve known those whose mental health is so poor that they can’t attend to self care, so their teeth and hair fall out. They smell bad. People look down on them.
Geez, I get depressed just thinking about it.
I’m lucky, and I know it. I’m thankful that even on my worst days, things just aren’t that bad. This Thanksgiving, I want to be thankful for everything.
Doc Stewart’s blessing from the 1920’s is short but says it all: For these and all thy many blessings, o Lord, we thank thee. May it be so. Jane–