The late Crothersville native Neal Cravens frequently handed out to friends and strangers copies of a short poem “Let Gratitude Be Your Attitude”. That poem was brought to mind this week when my columnist colleague Glenn Mollette—another southern Hoosier writer from Newburgh—submitted the following Thanksgiving thoughts.
The first Thanksgiving was surrounded by life’s hardships. The early settlers were bombarded with extreme weather, hunger, sickness and death. Those who had survived believed the best they could do was to stop and give thanks.
Too many throughout America are looking past Thanksgiving. Either we don’t want to think about it or we are looking to black Friday, Christmas or just trying to get through the year. The aggravations of the world often drive us to feeling beaten down and we become bitter and resentful instead of thankful.
When we live with gratitude our lives are more peaceful. Gratitude is a great stress reliever. A thankful life is a healthy life emotionally and physically. In gratitude we focus on the positive instead of the negative. We focus on the giver of life and not everything that is wrong with life.
How well we know that life is filled with suffering. Tornadoes destroyed towns throughout the Midwest last week. Thousands of people were devastated. One evening news sound bite was a woman in tears saying that she and her husband lost everything but they clung to each other because they still had each other. In the middle of losing everything they were grateful for each other. The Philippines were almost wiped off the map because of the most horrific typhoon ever recorded. Those people are suffering.
We don’t want pain and suffering. Yet, it’s almost impossible to live very long without experiencing both. A man in the Bible by the name of Job lost everything. He lost his children, his entire wealth and his health. Job suffered and lost everything. His wife told him to curse God and die. Job looked to his creator in spite of circumstances. He never lost his sense of gratitude toward God even in the blackest hours of his life. He said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him,” Job 13:15. In his last years of life Job ended up with more than ever before. Gratitude was the beginning step to a new life for Job.
You may not feel life is going your way. Stop and give thanks. Giving thanks is often the first step to better days.
Let gratitude be your attitude.