Saturday, November 10, 2012

More Than Just Thanks

I usually try to put a really pretty picture here, or something that draws the eye.  But this drew MY eye.  At first, it's just cute.  Then, it goes deeper.

If you're reading this, you're alive.
If you're reading this, you're literate.
If you're reading this, you have access to the internet.
If you're reading this, you have time on your hands.
If you're reading this, you're not starving in a third world country.
If you're reading this, you're not a refugee in a prison camp.
If you're reading this, you're not at you're child's funeral.
If you're reading this, you're not standing in a minefield.

We have so much to be thankful for that we consistently take for granted.  It's not a once-a-year thing, this attitude of gratitude that we should be carrying with us.  We should be smiling more.  We should be thanking people at every opportunity.  We should be thanking God each day we wake up.  The question is, why don't we do this?

When we're so used to blessings, they mean less and less to us.  We're used to having plenty (or at least, enough) food to eat.  We're used to clean water, and plumbing, and electricity.  We're used to two-car garages and cars to put in them.  Endless forms of entertainment.  Blankets on our bed.  A bed.  We're accustomed to having such an array of clothing that we get to choose what to wear each day before we walk out of the house.  We're used to being able to walk.  We're used to a furnace to keep us warm in the winter, and an air conditioning unit of some sort to keep us cool in the summer.  Once, it was a novelty to get our drivers' license and hop in a car and go anywhere we wanted -- that quickly faded to 'having' to go places instead of 'getting' to go places.  Whatever this wonderful life drops in our laps, we're always more concerned with what this terrible life is throwing at us.

We have become entitled.  

If you have six dollars in your wallet, you can get a Starbucks Frappe (and leave a tip, if you have a soul!) or you can feed a child in a third-world country for a month. 


For a few bucks here and there, which you might toss aside for a pack of chewing gum and a Mountain Dew, you could buy mosquito nets to save ENTIRE FAMILIES' LIVES in Africa who might otherwise die of malaria.You can help provide clean water for whole communities.  You can be instrumental in preventing people from HIV infection. You can make a difference.

All of these things you and I take for granted?  For every one of us, there are tens of thousands of people who don't have the opportunities we do.  Who don't have the comfort or safety we do.  Who don't have the rights we do. 

Instead of this sense of entitlement that permeates every aspect of our lives, there should be an overwhelming joy in our hearts each and every day we're alive, and for every blessing, big or small, that comes our way.

I want to start living that way today.

How about you?

Stephanie Jean

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