Thanksgiving is this week, at least here in the USA. This always lends itself to thoughts and conversations about thankfulness, people sharing what they are thankful for and the like.
I’ve been going to a new church (new to me, at least) the last two weeks, much smaller and a bit different compared to most of the churches I’ve been to before, but not in a bad way. At one point, the pastor asked us to get into small groups of four or so and discuss what we are grateful for, and tell about experiences that gave us a new perspective on gratitude. (The sermon tie-in, besides Thanksgiving, was to Job 42:6, where Job essentially repents from all his complaining to God.)
I always find this kind of conversation humbling. I can be like Job at times, focusing on everything that has gone wrong without remembering that I actually am a lot better off than so many people in the world, even than so many people around me. The first thing that came to mind in this discussion is that I’m grateful that I am relatively healthy, and this is something I tend to take for granted. This was on my mind because of a relative who I’ve just gotten to know in the last few years. I hope it isn’t too awkward that I’m mentioning her here, because I know she reads this. It isn’t my story to tell, but basically she is seriously ill and doesn’t have much time left. She is around my age, late 30s. I think of people like her, faced with an illness in the prime of her life, with a family to take care of… or like Alpheratz, the student from the school where I work who has never known a normal life because of the brain tumor she got in first grade, yet who is always upbeat and cheerful about life (I wrote about Alpheratz here)… and I realize that I really don’t have any right to complain. I have a roof over my head, I have a job, I have food, and while I may not have a wife or children of my own, I have a lot of friends and relatives who care about me.
So wherever you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, take nothing for granted. Remember what you are truly thankful for, and do everything you can to reach out to those less fortunate. I’m just going to leave this here now.