Tell Someone Thanks

ben-white-128604-unsplashPhoto by Ben White on Unsplash

I like to run.  I always have.  Where I live now I have two courses I usually run.  One is at Toccoa Falls College which is a beautiful spot to just enjoy a run.  The second spot is a local cemetery.  I know that sounds strange but there is something just peaceful about running there.

Over the course of many miles, I have had the chance to read many of the tombstones.  One family plot really got my attention.  This plot is a small section containing four headstones.  Mom and dad are there.  Dad lived to be 62.  Mom lived to be 78.  One interesting thing is the two small headstones next to mom and dad.  Two children are buried here.  The first is a son who lived for one day. Dad was 24 when his son died.  Mom was 22. The second is a daughter who also lived for only one day.  Dad was 23 when he lost his daughter.  Mom was 21. There is no indication the family had any other children.  I just stood next to the graves wondering about what this family had endured.

It is hard for me to imagine losing a child.  Losing two children when you are in your twenties?  That’s hard to take.  Then going the rest of your life with no children had to lead to some deep feelings for both mom and dad and some interesting private conversations.

So, as we approach Thanksgiving why even talk about this?  Here is why.  Many of us have family members who are still living.  Yet, we get caught up in non-stop work, texts, email, and other things that rob us from spending time with our family.  We get so busy with the daily grind in our lives that we forget to tell our family how important they are to us and that we really do love them.

We forget to ask our kids what is happening in their lives and what is important to them.  We forget to listen.  We get into a routine that keeps us from spending time with our spouse doing something that is important to them.  We don’t intend to let time get away from us but it just seems to happen. I would bet that the family who lost their two children would talk privately about how they would give anything to have their kids with them throughout their lives.

Many of us do have our kids and our spouse with us every day.  They are gifts.  Be thankful for them and let them know it this Thanksgiving.

For those who are not married or do not have children…you have others who care about you.  Mom and/or dad, brothers, sisters, friends, etc. There is someone in your life who really cares about you.  Let them know how thankful you are for them too. I bet someone in your life would love a phone call this Thanksgiving.

Time To Check Your Thanksgiving Attitude

The Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner. It seems every year someone tells us to count our blessings…to remember all those things we should be thankful for. While this is great advice, sometimes we only think about things to be grateful about rather than developing an attitude of gratefulness.

This week I was reading about a lady who attended a Garth Brooks concert. During the concert Garth was singing a very popular song he wrote called “The Dance”. As he was singing this song, a lady from the audience held up a sign that read:

Chemo this morning
Garth tonight
Enjoying the dance

Let’s stop for a moment and think about this sign and what it signals about attitude. I have been around many people who I simply call an energy leak. When they talk to you the joy of life seems to just get pulled from your body. You can feel these folks draining the energy right out of you! These energy leaks complain over trivial matters, the complaining goes on and on. Every time you try to get away they take you by the arm and complain some more.

Contrast this with the woman holding the sign. If anyone has something to complain about it’s this woman. Suffering from cancer and chemotherapy she makes a choice to be thankful. She could choose to sit at home and complain but instead she decides to go celebrate life at a Garth Brooks concert.

You see our decision to be thankful for what we have is a choice. We can choose to be an energy leak…a drain on others…or we can choose to be a light to the world…showing the world what it really means to be a follower of Christ.

I am reminded of this verse in Psalm 118:24 that says this:

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

This is a short but powerful verse. In all we do, each and every day choose to rejoice!

So as Thanksgiving approaches, remember to focus on a thankful attitude like the woman with the sign. Your attitude really is a choice and God, through His word, has told us the right choice to make. It’s simple…be thankful and rejoice.

A Thanksgiving Thought

Life operates at a fast pace. We run from meeting to meeting, shuttle our children to events, and seldom have the chance to just slow down and relax.  Our electronic devices have blurred the line between work time and recreational time.  Frankly, we check our electronic devices far more than we should.  Our calendars are full and free time is hard to find.

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving…a time to pull the plug on some of our activities and simply reflect on our many blessings.  As tough as we often view our busy lives, take time to remember that your hectic work life means you have a job.  Your constant shuttling of children to their many events means you have a family to love and support.  It is easy to get so busy that we just forget to slow down and be thankful for what we do have.

I am reminded of a story that illustrates our need to simply be thankful. Here it is:

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building holding a sign that read: I am blind, please help. Next to the young boy was a box that contained a few coins that those passing by had placed inside.

A man walked by the boy, took the sign, and wrote something on the other side. The man gave the sign back to the boy but now had the new words facing those who passed by.

Soon the young boy’s box began to fill up with money.

Later the man who had changed the words on the sign returned to check on the boy.  The blind boy recognized his footsteps and asked, Were you the one who changed my sign this morning?  What did you write?

The man told the young blind boy he wrote the following words on the sign: Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.

You see, people who read the sign were thankful for their gift of sight and began giving to help the blind boy.  They were giving out of thankfulness.

So this Thanksgiving instead of carrying your normal sign that says how busy you are, ask yourself what is beautiful in your life that you need to just stop and appreciate. Take some time to hug your family, give your co-workers a big smile, enjoy the gift of food at Thanksgiving, turn off your cell phone, go for a walk with your spouse, read a book, take a nap, or just do whatever allows you to relax and be thankful for your many blessings.

This Thanksgiving also remember 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that says this, In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.