Today is the day we Americans set aside to celebrate being “thankful.” We celebrate by eating huge dinners of turkey, ham, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, and we gather with family, reciting stories from the previous year and years. And this is a good thing. I think any time we take to set aside to remember all we have to be thankful for, it’s a good thing. I mean, let’s face it, we have a ton to be thankful for. My uncle Greg had a heart attack last week, and is now recovering at home. April and I were in a car accident last week, one that could have been much worse. My friend Matt Call was critically injured in a hit and run this past year, one that almost took his life, and thankfully didn’t and he’s recovering well. Even if we just look at the fact we’re alive and breathing air, we’ve a lot to be thankful for.
But, we have so much more. We have clothes, more clothes than we need. Most women coordinate their clothing with holidays, parties, days of the week, sports teams. We have food, more food than we need. Have you ever looked at how much food you throw away? I have, and it’s disheartening, even what I throw away myself. We have family, family that sticks together, and family that loves because we’re family. We have friends, friends who also love us in spite of our own shortcomings, friends that are there with us through hard times and good times. Friends that encourage us, push us forward, and build amazing amounts of value to our lives and help us gain purpose. We have clean water to drink, to cook with, to bathe with, etc. Never again will I take this one simple thing for granted after seeing the need first-hand in Uganda this year.
On, and on, we could name off all the things we’re thankful for today, and again, we should, but I would like to encourage you to be thankful for these things everyday. I am. Everyday I wake up, and see my amazing wife lying next to me, I’m thankful. I think about the fact she could be anywhere she’d like to be, and she has chosen to be lying next to me in that bed. I think about the fact that I have a job, when so many are jobless. I think about everything I have, and am thankful to God for it. And maybe you don’t believe in God, be thankful to whomever it is you believe loves you enough to bestow you with what you don’t deserve. For me, I know it’s God, who’s taken care of me since I can remember, who’s done things I know I couldn’t have orchestrated like meeting my wife.
And not just be thankful, but show your thankfulness. Tell your family how much they mean to you. Tell your friends how much you value what they add to your life. Tell your workmates how much you learn from them. Express your own thankfulness by going out and volunteering in your community. April and I love the Atlanta Community Food Bank and have volunteered there, and helping there is such a simple expression of our own thankfulness for what we’ve been given. Whatever you do, wherever you do it, pass it on for those that don’t have as much to be thankful for. Because we really do have much to be thankful for.
As I sit here, in Panama City Beach, Florida, listening to the waves crashing against the shore and going back out again, as I’m spending good quality time with my family here, it’s made me think about my own life and my future. And it’s made me think of my community, and my friends, who’ve stuck with me, who love me in spite of me, and who remind me daily why I love Atlanta, and how much bigger life is than just what happens in my own house. So, I’d like to personally say, thank you. Whether it’s via social media, or via real life interactions, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life in some way, and thanks for helping me to become more. I love and appreciate you all.