Thursday, November 12, 2009

To Be Grateful for More

Esme's Mommy here, celebrating with hot chocolate just for the joy of it with Good, True and Beautiful, and waxing philosophical about gratefulness thanks to Scribbit's Write-Away contest...

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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?

9 comments:

BaronessBlack said...

Amen, sister! I find myself often wishing for the same. It becomes harder and harder to appreciate the real values behind some of our Christian festivals when we're so weighed down by the commercialism.

We used to have a bit of a counter-balance by doing the shoebox gift scheme. We could think about which of our toys a child somewhere else would like to receive as a gift. However, this year (for completely understandable hygiene reasons) they are requesting only new items in the shoe boxes! Sigh!

It's strange, isn't it, to be asking for less all the time?

Scribbit said...

"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."

Wow, that was a good thing to wake me up. I guess I'd never thought of it like that but it's very true.

Debbie said...

This is a work of brilliance! Some things are easy and some things aren't.

CC said...

Amen to it all. We've been trying for the last year to report something we are thankful for at dinner every.single.night. And as easy as it should be, my kids still struggle with it. But really? We have SO much!!!!!

GR said...

Especially hot chocolate! Thank you for a very nice post and perspective. K

ShackelMom said...

So very true! Thank you for this excellent post! It is so true that giving what you have a way increases your gratefulness and your joy!

Patricia L said...

First, thanks for stopping by my blog. I like all of your "It's easy..." statements. You are so right, and, at 30, I'm just now learning to really be grateful for the basics. Great post.

Terresa said...

Beautiful thoughts. You say it all here, "I think I actually wish for less, so that I can be grateful for more."

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Congrats on getting Honorable Mention in the contest! Enjoy that hot cocoa, mmmm.....