Having a Thanksgiving heart

As we gather today with family and friends to share in our bountiful blessings, we should do so with grateful hearts. For despite the trials and tribulations of what seems like a world gone crazy, there is still so much for which we should give thanks.

While it is far easier to look at the glass half-empty than it ever is to see it half-full, today should be the day when we remove the glasses of pessimism and examine the lives we lead, looking at the things we have rather than the things we have yet to obtain.

And in so doing, we should each make a concerted effort to consider Thanksgiving the first of many days where we truly count our blessings rather than steadily subtracting the things we have wanted but haven’t received.

So what are you thankful for today?

It’s a question that’s been asked a lot the last few days, and one that will arise more than once on this day of Thanksgiving. In truth, each of us should acknowledge that there are many things, small and large, in which to offer thanks.

If you have a roof over your head, a job that helps you pay your bills, a family that loves you, friends who are there for you, a community that supports you and a faith that sustains you, consider yourself among the most blessed in all the world.

There are many far less fortunate who have maybe one of those things, but not all. Yet even they have something in which to be thankful.

It’s amazing to talk to people who’ve recently lost a loved one, listening to the gratitude in their voices. Even through their pain, perhaps even bitterness over losing someone they deeply care for, many families talk with thanks about the time they had to share, about the examples left behind, about the days, months and years they were given.

The same is true of many of our veterans. Though they may have lost a limb, an eye or even their ability to walk, many talk of how grateful they were to have served their country, how thankful they are to be alive and back on American soil.

It just shows we all have something we can be thankful for if we only take a moment to look beyond our selfish thoughts to see how much we truly have in life.

Too often we take significant things for granted, thinking we somehow earned them, like being born in this community, this state and this nation. It’s not all that often that we think of that as a blessing. But it is a significant blessing, one we had no control over yet reap all the benefits from day in and day out.

We could have been born in any country and in any circumstance, yet many of us were blessed to have been born right here in Sampson County, raised by two parents and afforded myriad opportunities that so many don’t get.

While it’s true we probably all want far more than we have — we’d all like for ourselves and our loved ones to be disease free, wealthy, mobile, happy, successful and amassing the things in life we see as important — if we really look at our bounty, we’d realize pretty quickly that we have most of the things, if not all, that we need.

And that’s why it’s important to count your blessings, not just today, but every day.

It will help us to see how truly full our glass is, and it will instill in us the grateful hearts we should keep and search every day of every year.

As we gather together today, be still a moment, basking in the glow of our bounty and offer a prayer of thanks.