Why be thankful

It’s tough to be thankful nowadays. It seems that everywhere you look, something’s wrong. The economy, unemployment, war, disease, the environment. Political talk radio and TV – both left and right – makes things sound even more miserable. The right is mad at the president because he’s too liberal, and the left is mad at him because he’s not liberal enough. Nobody is happy.

In times like these, it’s especially important to be thankful.

Thankfulness forces us to look for the good in our lives, no matter how hard it is to find. Even if you’ve lost your job, your home, everything you have, just being alive is a reason for hope. Tomorrow could bring an opportunity to earn an honest dollar or find someone who can help you. You can be grateful for having your family with you. They may be suffering along with you, but being together can provide some mutual comfort. You can be reassured that others have suffered the same situation as you, and then some, and have persevered.

And for those of us who are materially fortunate, thankfulness prevents us from taking our good fortune for granted.  I find that people make themselves miserable when they’re never satisfied with what they have. We must have the latest gadget, a bigger house, a more luxurious car. We have to get the bigger size combo at the fast-food restaurant or get more followers on our Twitter page. Thankfulness helps us keep our lives in perspective, forces us to look at what truly matters, and steers us away from self-indulgent excess.

We need Thanksgiving – not as an excuse to gorge ourselves and strategize for Black Friday – but to enjoy and appreciate our family, friends, and this wonderful gift of life we have. No matter how little or how much we have, we can be grateful for it and for the tomorrow that offers us hope.

Happy Thanksgiving.