The overcast skies didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd on Wednesday as we applauded the marching bands, the Scout groups, the fire trucks, the branches of services, the veterans, and most importantly to many there, the flying candy. It felt good to be an American!
A year ago, we were in Mozambique. November 11 passed by largely unnoticed by our neighbors. And the fourth Thursday in November was just another working day. Yet despite the lack of Thanksgiving commercialism, we were grateful.
It’s easy to be grateful for rice and beans when your neighbors are starving. It’s not so easy as you peek through the windows and see them dining on steak and wine. And chocolate cheesecake.
It’s easy to be grateful for a bicycle while your neighbors are walking. It’s not so easy when they’re driving a BMW.
It’s easy to be grateful for your kid’s health when your neighbor’s kid is sick. It’s not so easy when your neighbor’s kid is destined for the Olympics.
It’s easy to be grateful for what we have while living in Mozambique. It’s not so easy in America.
Sad, but true. In this land of plenty, of excess, it is HARD to be grateful.
A year ago, I wrote about how glad I was that my baby was growing up in a country where she would realize how blessed she really is. Now she’s growing up in Oregon, and is even more blessed than before in terms of material things. Will she realize this?
Does gratefulness have to be relative?
Or is it possible for us to simply be grateful for exactly what we have, willing to share with those who have less, and happy for those who have more?
This I've found to be true: the more we give, the more grateful we are for what we have. And the less encumbered we are with "stuff," the easier it is focus on the things that bring true happiness. Like family, and friends, and love, and beauty, and quiet moments, and hot chocolate...
So while children draw up wish lists and stores glitter and glisten with merchandise around the country this holiday season, I think I actually wish for less, so that I can be grateful for more. And dare I say I wish the same for my daughter, as well?