Being thankful is a choice, and the degree to which you experience gratitude depends on that which most occupies your mind and spirit.
I know you’ve been around whiney types whose attitude seems stuck on NEGATIVE and BACKWARD. It matters little how blessed they’ve been because they don’t see it; you can but they’re blind. They’re not looking for anything positive in their life and all the wonderful things God’s brought into their journey do not register. They could have privilege after privilege, blessing after blessing, to the point anyone looking on would be amazed at how much they have for which to be grateful. It makes no difference. They are focused only on what’s wrong in the moment, and what else may be wrong in the future.
I know you’ve been around the opposite types as well. No matter what life throws at them – regardless of what hard and unpleasant things happen in or to them – they always wear a smile and have something worthwhile and positive to say when asked, “How ya doin’?” When you grin back and search for something encouraging to say to make them feel better, you always walk away feeling better, too, just for having been in their positive gravity.
I know which of the two you would rather hang with.
The former are embittered to the point nothing satisfies, there’s always something wrong, and every response begins with, “But—“ They don’t like themselves; and if they ever get real, they’ve a hard time accepting why anyone else would. Need proof? Look at with whom they surround themselves. It’s a self-defeating downward spiral. You may pity them, may even want to try encouraging them to make some positive changes, yet you know they’ll not only disregard the attempt; they often deride you and ridicule your sunny attitude.
The latter? You just like being around them. The more you know their stories and what life’s been like for them, bouncing off life’s jagged edges just like everybody else, the more you smile and shake your head at what a strong, positive, grateful influence they have and are.
What a cool coincidence that this morning’s quiet time passage includes just such an attitude.
“I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess….
“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am….
“You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity.”~ Philippians 4:10-14, 20, MSG
Thanksliving is an intentional, custom-built habit, just like its opposite. George Washington Carver had a favorite poem written by Edgar A. Guest. Carver often read it to his students to inspire them, and by the time they left his tutelage and went out to make something of themselves, they’d memorized it. I’d like to leave it with you on this Thanksliving weekend.
Figure it out for yourself, my lad, You’ve all the the greatest of men have had; Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes; And a brain to use if you would be wise. With this equipment they all began.
So start for the top and say, “I can”. Look them over, the wise and the great; They take their food from a common plate, And similar knives and forks they use, With similar laces they tie their shoes. The world considers them brave and smart, But you’ve all they had when they made their start.
You can triumph and come to skill; You can be great if only you will. You’re well equipped for what fight you choose; You have legs and arms and a brain to use, And the man who has risen, great deeds to do, Began his life with no more than you.
You are the handicap you must face, You are the one who must choose your place. You must say where you want to go, How much you will study the truth to know. God has equipped you for life, But He lets you decide what you want to be.
Courage must come from the soul within. The man must furnish the will to win. So figure it out for yourself, my lad; You were born with all that the great have had. With your equipment they all began, So get ahold of yourself and say, “I can”.~ Edgar A. Guest
From me and those I love to you and those you love, may this Thanksgiving weekend nudge you into a greater, more invigorating and satisfactory habit of Thanksliving.
(c) D. Dean Boone, November 26, 2021