Gratitude

I have a great deal to be thankful for. “Blessed beyond what I deserve” is a phrase many people use, and it is certainly true for me. However that phrase, as apt as it may be, better describes “grace”, which is a subject of another blog down the road.

I am sitting on the veranda of a condo in Maui as I write. My wife and I are here due to the generosity of dear friends, whose condo we have for this week. I am most grateful for that! While Hawai’i is a gorgeous paradise and we are loving the visit, it is not what I am most grateful for. The greatest gifts- my wife, my children, my grandchildren, my siblings, my friends, my health are all gifts beyond measure- and I am so grateful for them all.

I have a home, a car, meaningful work. I live in a country that is, while imperfect, the most generous, freedom loving nation on earth (I believe). All this to say- I understand what I have and I cannot adequately explain why I have it. However, that is not necessary. My job is to be thankful for all that I have and to live in a posture of gratitude, not entitlement.

It is easy to fall into a mindset whereby we compare our gifts to what others possess.  This focus nearly always leads to a negative place- unless we are correctly seeing that we have so much more than so many others. I sometimes tell my clients that about 90% of the world would literally risk their life to have what we have in America. It is not an indictment of those clients, but merely a way of  positing a different way to look at where we are in our life.

Many people are suffering in many ways as I write this. We can and should, to the extent that we are able, help alleviate that suffering. Sometimes we can be of help, and sometimes we cannot. However, I believe that we are responsible to have gratitude for what we have, and to never take it for granted. Such a mindset helps us to see how blessed we are, and that makes us better able to respond to those who could benefit from what we are able to share.

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