Thank you very much!
Most of us will never get on the Forbes list by making a killing in the stock market or by filling our coffers to overflowing from the strategic buying and flipping of foreclosed real estate, —no matter how many DVD’s we buy from the huckster on the infomercial. We will also not be Halle or Lena or Angelina beautiful. We will not win the Nobel,
the Pulitzer or the Oscar—in any category—and most probably neither will anyone we know. Our closets are not stocked with Armani, Prada, Louboutins or Birkin bags. The good jewelry we wear on
special occasions most likely came from Zales or Jared, not Harry Winston or Cartier.
A great dinner out at our favorite steak house consists of USDA prime, not Kobe, beef. And we are now old enough and clever enough to know that whether or not you clean your plate has absolutely nothing to do with easing the misery of the millions of starving children in China or Ethiopia or wherever it was our parents filled us full of angst and guilt about when we didn’t want to eat our Brussels sprouts or liver or kumquats.
Our garages do not provide temperature and humidity controlled shelter for our Bentleys and Maseratis—they are jam packed with lawnmowers, snow blowers and the other junk we can’t fit in the house and haven’t yet moved to the self-storage place. It’s a pretty safe bet that, although it is possible, very few of our children will become the President of Harvard or the United States, launch the next Microsoft, or discover a cure for the common cold. More likely than not, they will grow up, get fairly decent jobs or start a small accounting/house-painting/hairdressing/etc. business and generally get on with their lives, which in a world where every year, ten or so million children die before their fifth birthday, is pretty excellent.
The shelves of our local supermarket are laden enough food to feed entire villages in Haiti or Cambodia or Somalia—for months, but we complain indignantly about long lines and the lack of enough check out registers and only begrudgingly accept a rain check for the sale item now out of stock.
Some of us can barely afford health insurance-even with the Affordable Care Act, some of us surely are affected by illness– our own or that of someone near and dear, some of us have been misdiagnosed or even mistreated by a health care professional, but we cannot imagine, no matter how hard we try, what it is like to live in a place where there are NO doctors or hospitals.
We are up in arms when our power fails for a few hours after an overtaxing summer of overwhelming heat, (Caused in no small part by global warming from our being such terrible stewards of the planet we call home.) but the notion of living in a place where electricity is available (to rich and
poor alike) only five or six hours a day is inconceivable to us.
Once a year on a chilly November day, after The Big Parade and before and during The Big Game, we give collective, unembarrassed obeisance and lip-service to our gratitude for our abundant blessings over a well roasted (often too well-roasted) fowl—because even the government, knowing how good we had it here, mandated a national Thank You Day (to which Supreme Being you give thanks has not yet been mandated). And yet before the wish bone is snapped and we’ve had a chance to get bored with the leftovers— hell, before the good dishes have been put back in
the china cabinet, we have joined the unruly mob of “black Friday” thugs coming to blows over the last $49 TV at the SuperCheapoMart Early Bird Sale. The ad said only 50 at each store. And you’re number 51. Oh well. Did you really needed another television set anyway?
Where did all that thankfulness we so humbly heralded the day before go?
We live in a time, AND in a country possessed of untold bounty. But the whine has become our hue and cry. We bitch and moan so much that I’m not sure we’re even remotely cognizant of how good we have it. As the First Lady so eloquently stated “…this, right now, is the greatest country on Earth.”
Here, there is much. And, truth be told, deep down, we know it.
Yet we are so busy complaining about what we’re lacking that we have no understanding that to most of the world, EVERYONE in America is rich. And relatively speaking, we are. Even the poorest and most disenfranchised among us are several centuries better off than the majority of the known world.
So—now that we have reached the age of true maturity—which brings with it wisdom, understanding and acceptance (or at least it’s supposed to if you’re doing it right) it is time to realize that for more of us than would readily admit it, the glass has been half full (at least) most of our lives. And if your glass is among the underfilled, more than likely, it’s because you either spilled it—it’s kinda hard to keep everything in there when you’re running too fast and not paying attention or that you were once again not paying attention when they told you which line you should get in for your half glass worth.
A few years ago, I believe that Oprah, the undisputed people’s choice for guardian of our national conscience, inveigled us to keep a Gratitude Journal. I’m not really sure how I feel about the whole journaling thing—and there’s likely to be a later LESSON on that, but my personal “to journal or not to journal” indecision aside, the call to be mindful and grateful for what we have is one we all can and SHOULD heed—often and repeatedly, without the designation of a special day.
Each and every day that you open your eyes, before you haul your butt out of bed. Think of just one thing you’re grateful for. I don’t care if you write it down or not, but you do have to call to mind at least one of your good fortunes every day—even on weekends. (On really really bad days, you have permission to repeat or to only be grateful.)