Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What Does It Mean to be Thankful?

     With today being Thanksgiving, it's of course only natural to be thinking about what it means to be thankful.  I was contemplating this thought this morning, wondering about that very word.  I look around, and can't help but be "thankful" or appreciative for the unbelievable good fortune that is my life.  I have a great family, great friends, a great home, great health, enough money to be feel secure and without stress, and I live in a country where we have unprecedented freedom, safety, and prosperity, at least as it compares to nearly every other place on earth.  But while I can recognize all this good fortune, what does it really mean to be "thankful?"
     It seems to me that two people could be in identical circumstances and yet they could differ significantly in the degree of thankfulness they might feel.  Some of it surely has to do with their perspective.  One person sees all that they have while another sees all they don't have.  But I think that being thankful is more than just a mindset.  It's actually an active word.  I think if we're truly thankful, we express our thankfulness through our actions.
     The clearest way in which we express it through our actions is to help others who are less fortunate.  The very act of doing so is an acknowledgment that we appreciate how lucky we are, and are indeed thankful.  Today, as an expression of my thankfulness, I went to the WishUponAHero website and helped to grant a wish for a struggling woman in Indiana.  
     The woman is diabetic and struggling to meet her bills.  She was looking for help to purchase some winter clothes to help her keep warm.  She had posted her specific needs on a Walmart gift registry and so I was able to actually order her a pullover jacket and a couple of pair of pants in just the right size and have them shipped directly to her home.  One of the great things about this site, which I've referred to a number of times previously, is the way it helps strangers connect with other strangers and allows them to deliver exactly the help they most need.  Pretty amazing.  By the way, over 97,000 wishes have been granted in the past 5 years.
     What better way to express our thankfulness than to perform an act of kindness for someone else.

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