On that first Thanksgiving Day in 1621, the colonists invited the Indians to join them in giving thanks for the harvest. Being thankful meant having enough to share. It still does.
A grateful man will share — and be glad he’s able — regardless of how much he has. What he shares of his time or his substance will include an attitude of sufficiency, a knowing that there is enough, and that there is more where that came from. He sees abundance because he looks through grateful eyes, not greedy ones. And he multiplies what he has by being openhanded.
Often, we measure a man (or woman) by what he has. But what he’s willing to give is a better indication of what he really has. What he’s clinging to is what has him — his attention, his grip, and his energy. The thing he clings to can’t get away, but neither can he.
A grateful man has what an ungrateful man wants but cannot seem to find — enough. A sense of worth and plenty does not come with the accumulation of things; it comes with the knowledge of who you are apart from the things — the house, the job, the bank account, and even the family and circle of friends. To be grateful, you must look at what you have. In doing so, you push aside anger and resentment, for what you don’t have, and make room for gratitude.
Then, you always have something to share, the attitude of thanksgiving. You show others what gratitude looks like, and how it brings to light abundance and joy under any circumstances. And when you teach somebody to be thankful, you teach them to see and acknowledge not just what they have, but who they are, what they are made of. You teach them to be happy!
Happiness is not based on what you can hold in your hand. It is based on what you hold inside. It is not based on what you can get. It is based on what you can give.
Perhaps what we most lack in our society is gratitude. Perhaps we have so much that we take our plenty for granted and focus on what more we could have (most of which, doesn’t matter) … and, in doing so, make ourselves miserable.
“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts,” said H.U. Westermayer. “No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
They knew the value of what they did have!
We are rich because life is rich — not in possessions, but in love, in meaning and opportunity to share. Nobody can take the harvest away. We will always reap what we sow.
See with your heart what you have been blessed with in your relationships, your home, your work, your play, your retirement, your world, the skies, the earth, the seas.
Embrace it, but don’t cling to it and squeeze the life out of it. Let it breathe. Don’t worry about where you will get more. As you appreciate what you have, you will naturally take care of it, nurture it, make it grow, and find joy in sharing it.
When you stay grateful, you keep a loose grip. You take losses in stride, knowing that you can rebuild. And when you’re not afraid of loss, you’re less likely to be afraid of gains. You’re more likely to go for what you want and get it, without becoming a servant to it.
Being grateful will always mean having enough — regardless of how much that is — and it will always mean inviting others to share in what you have.