As Fall settles in around us and Thanksgiving nears we are reminded to be grateful. Each year at Thanksgiving dinner our family often went around the table saying one thing we were grateful for. My sister and I hated it. As I get older, I value the act of gratitude more and more.
We are often caught in a culture of complaining where the grass always seems greener on the other side. Until of course you get there and then you are sure the grass was greener where you once were. What is it about our society that we often find ourselves unsatisfied even if we have everything we thought we wanted? The economic status of our country has enhanced this method of thinking when in reality I think it should have made us even more grateful for what we have. Before the housing crisis, the high unemployment rates and the overall stall in spending, were you satisfied? Perhaps being grateful for what we already have would have prevented this mess all together. The fact of the matter is that even in a recession, the majority of Americans are still living a life of exuberance compared to the rest of the world. People are still standing in line for $5 coffee while surfing the web on their phones. God forbid we live without cable and let’s not even talk about switching to dial up instead of high speed internet.
Everything happens for a reason, they say and I think the reason is to jolt our culture from an attitude of dissatisfaction to an attitude of gratitude. The only way to get green grass is to have fertilizer and lots of water. When you don’t have the tools to get the green grass, create a new option. That’s why we have rocks in Arizona. You have to work with what you have and be grateful for it. A rock lawn may not be a nice spot for a picnic but you don’t have to water it, mow it or worry about it if you go out of town. Even the greenest grass has a few weeds so before you start longing for what you don’t have remember how nice your rock yard looks after a few weeks of 110 degree temperatures or how your water bill looks for that matter.
I’m not trying to make light of a dire situation. I know many people are struggling immensely, losing their homes and looking for work. However I do know that all of us have something to be grateful for. Perhaps a smaller home means less time cleaning and more time to spend with the kids, or the inability to go out to eat means finding out that you really enjoy cooking, or the tight budget makes you a savvy sale shopper and you realize discount stores have just as cute of clothes as department stores. Whatever the situation may be, there is always a silver lining if you are willing to look for it. If you don’t believe me go volunteer at a homeless shelter, take a trip to a border town in Mexico, or stop by a women’s shelter. Trust me when I say that it always could be worse. It’s time to stop longing for what could be or what once was and start being thankful for today, for now, for everything.
Tell me, what are you grateful for?
Photo via The House of Belonging