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On Giving Thanks

Despite our troubling times, it's important to express gratitude for the basics of everyday living.

It almost seems trite in the midst of hard times to tell folks to be thankful for the small things in their life. Seems kinda like offering gravy without the turkey, dressing or potatoes.

These are tumultuous times in America and throughout the world. Even more so are they hard on individuals and families. Many Americans have not seen times these hard in their lifetime. And while appreciating even the small things can offer comfort, it seldom offers the hope, strength and endurance needed to not only survive the hard times but to thrive despite them.

Certainly, I’m glad for those things that many of us take for granted like a car, a place to sleep and food to eat. But those things merely get you by. Getting by, though, just doesn’t seem to cut the muster.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the BIG things, things so big that they’re not things, at all. They’re principles that guide me through life whether the times are good or bad.  

Here’s one. I’m glad that I’m an American. Even in these crazy times with the economy and politics, ours is still one of the most stable countries on the planet. When the rest of the world is economically unstable, investors STILL look to the United States as the last safe place to put their money. In the short term, things might not look so great.

But in the long run, we’re still the economic engine for the entire planet. And besides, where else can you so freely express yourself than America. Whether you’re in the Tea Party Movement or the Occupy Wall Street movement, you still have a voice.

Another. We were designed to be healthy, whole and happy. That just means that I can assume that from the moment I was conceived, my basic design was for health and that if I work within certain guidelines, I don’t need to fear sickness, disease and infirmity.

Granted, there are no guarantees of complete health nor freedom from untimely death. But I can assume that I’m supposed to be healthy. And if I do those things for which my body was designed, I will experience the maximum health possible for me.

Oh yeah. Eat better, exercise regularly, get restful sleep every night, develop and maintain a positive mental attitude, and maintain a healthy nervous system.Still another, love. The instruction manual tells us that “Perfect love casts out fear.”  

In other words, if you can find a way to love yourself unconditionally and then do the same with and for others, your life will be better. Love and fear cannot exist in the same place at the same time. 

When you can live your life and love your life regardless of what is or is not happening around you, fear has no hold over you. I know, that sounds so mushy. But I’m not talking about that mushy lovey dovey love stuff. I’m talking about the very appreciation for life itself and the bigness that brings. You know that “Love thy neighbor as thyself” kind of thing.

Finally, the glory of going on. The football analogy is that you simply don’t stop until the final whistle. There’s a special kind of feeling knowing that you kept going through good times and bad. The satisfaction one gets by knowing that nothing can stop you is sometimes enough to propel you to heights unknown.

I believe that we were each and all designed for greatness and to do great things. And as bleak as things sometimes seem, I’m reminded that it’s always darkest just before dawn.

So in this season of Thanksgiving, I hope you DO appreciate the small things because that keeps us humble. But, I encourage you to give praise and thanks for the big things because those big things are why you and I are here.Happy Thanksgiving!

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