(picture from Radio Free Babylon)
It was completely coincidental that this strip was up this morning from Radio Free Babylon. But it hits on exactly what I wanted to write about.
It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just over a week away. I don't know where the time has gone. If you find it, please let me know. Anyway, the popular thing to do on Facebook during the month of November is to share something you're grateful for every day. The first few days are obvious: family, friends, and so on. But as you get closer to Thanksgiving the exercise becomes harder as you really have to put thought into what you're thankful for.
I admit, I haven't done this. I'm not going to try and catch up with a list of dozen things with this post. Instead, I want to offer up a different approach.
I really appreciate my friend Dave. If there's anything the least bit wise that shows up in my posts, you can thank him. His insight into the human condition, faith, and the word is always encouraging and challenging me. But he also has a heart of gold.
He doesn't wait for November to roll around to give thanks. If he goes to a restaurant and gets great service, he posts about it on Facebook. If he sees someone go above and beyond expectations, he credits them for it. The cynic might look at such posts as trying to curry favor for his business. But he acts the same in private as well. A couple of weeks ago he took his daughter through a fast food drive-through and his daughter thought the cashier at the window was extra nice. So he had her write a letter to the manager to express how grateful she was for the friendly service.
As we were talking the other day, he challenged me to do the same thing. He did so because I have trouble expressing myself. The switch on my emotions read "angry" and "off". And just like Carl in the comic strip above, much of my anger stems from my own ingratitude and discontentment. He encouraged me to go out of my way and personally, not via a post on Facebook, reach out to others and express my gratitude for the things they do. So far this has been hard, but I've discovered several opportunities: the custodial staff at my job (really, how often do they get sincerely thanked?), the driver of my vanpool, the coordinator for my Sunday School curriculum, and several others.
I haven't done it each day like the posts of Facebook, but at least it's a start. And I am beginning to see my attitude change- slowly but surely.
Are you stressed out by the coming holidays? Are you worried about the economy or the future of your job? Are you struggling in a relationship? Share an attitude of gratitude and "wipe the snarl off of Carl."
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers."
"always [give] thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."