Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Let's all go around the table and everyone name three things you're thankful for."

Thankfulness is a funny thing because we all know what we're supposed to be thankful for.  Have you ever done one of those things where everyone at the Thanksgiving dinner table takes a turn telling what they're thankful for?  Everyone always says the same thing.
I'm thankful for my wife.  She's been the love of my life these past ** years...

I'm grateful for a house to live in...

I really love the Lord...
We all know what we're supposed to say.  Maybe it's just me (maybe), but I think if we were a little more honest with ourselves, the obligatory "top of the list" items are probably the ones we underestimate when people aren't asking.  I'm not trying to find fault with all of humanity, but I know human nature.

It's the client at the business meeting who gets the compliment, not your wife.  It's the mailman who gets the smile, not your son or daughter.  "You need a helping hand?  No problem!" for your buddy at work or church.  But for your aging parents (that you don't quite see as often as you know you should)?  "Let me check my schedule to see if I'm free that day."

You see, there's the Thanksgiving Day list of thankfulness:

1.  My Family
2.  My Health
3.  (if you're religious) God
4.  My Job
5.  Whatever else in whatever order...

Then there's the real list.  I'm not even gonna begin to try and make a list for you ('cause I don't know) or me ('cause I'd probably be to embarrassed to let you see).  The real list is the list of our actual priorities.

The guy who said that familiarity breeds contempt was only kind of right.  Familiarity so easily breeds apathy.  And our complacent attitude toward the people "closest" to us eventually can lead to contempt.  Unfortunately it's usually not our contempt, it's the contempt of the one we've been neglecting so long.

God have mercy.  What's wrong with us?  Wouldn't it be so much better if we took time to be thankful every day?  (Yes, it would.)

But everyone knows I'm thankful for that stuff!  I mean my family, my job, food to eat, health, God.  That should be a given.  Besides, I told everyone last year at Thanksgiving!

And when our football team wins next weekend, a feeling of gratitude will well up in us for how good life really is.  Will that be the first time we've felt that way all day? 

I don't want to be that way.  I want to adjust my thinking--and my priorities--to be thankful for the things that really matter.  For the things I say mean so much on Thanksgiving Day.

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