Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving thanks


the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, esp. to God.
an expression of thanks, esp. to God.
a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.
a day set apart for giving thanks to God.

Riley says his prayers every night before going to sleep. Most of the time, he says the uniform prayer: " Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep." And, every night I ask him if he has any extra prayers. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't.

I love the nights when he decides to say an extra prayer. I think when most people pray, they are usually asking for something. They may throw a few thank yous in there, but for the most part, we're asking God to do things. They are usually good things like "protect my family" or "be with so-and-so, who is in the hospital". But, still we're asking for things. I guess I can only speak for myself here, but I'm not nearly thankful enough in my prayers (or my daily life for that matter)

When Riley says his extra prayer, it's all about giving thanks. Here's a sample: " Dear God, Thank you for my mom and dad and Holden. Thank you for the trees. Thank you for grocery stores so we can have food to eat. Thank you for dogs. Thank you for policemen to protect us. Thank you for cars, so we don't have to walk everywhere. Amen."

See, he didn't ask for a single thing. Why can't I be like that?

I was thinking I would write a post today and try to be like Riley's prayers. I thought "He's so thankful for the little things." Then, I sat down to write and I started thinking. I was thinking of all the "little things" for which I'm thankful. Then, I realized they aren't really little things at all.

Just look at Riley's prayer. The trees, they give us air to breathe and they are beautiful, especially this time of year with all the yellow, orange, and red on the leaves. The grocery store, while I absolutelyy detest going there, I should be thankful that they exist. I take for granted that I can just walk in, buy what I want and leave. So many people all over the world don't have that luxury Dogs, well, how can you not be thankful for dogs? They are "man's best friend". They are among the most loving and faithful things on the planet. And, besides, they're cute. Policemen, well, that's obvious. These men and women put their lives on the line to keep us safe. And, they don't even know us. And, last but not least, cars. I am very thankful for my Pontiac Vibe. I would hate to have to walk everywhere. I live in a very rural area where everything is pretty spread out. But, I see people walking down the road everyday, looking for a ride.

I want my life to be more like Riley's prayers. I want to look at the world and see all the things for which to be thankful. Instead of stressing over what I don't have. I want to be thankful for what I do have.

I found this poem that says it better than I can.

If you find yourself stuck in traffic; Don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

Should you have a bad day at work; Think of the man who has been out of work for years

Should you despair over a relationship gone bad; Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend; Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children

Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance; Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror; Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.

Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness,ignorance, smallness or insecurities; Remember, things could be worse. You could be one of them

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope your day is great and your thankfulness extends beyond today and spills into your everyday life.


Keith said...

So true Penny. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Minnesota Nice said...

Beautiful-it's all a matter of perspective, isn't it?
I'm a tree-lover also.

Happy Thanksgiving, Penny.

Anonymous said...

Riley doenst ask for anything becuase he gets what he needs from your and your family. He gets it! And evidently so do you.
That was a great post and your an awesome Mom.
Take care

Anonymous said...

My coworkers gave me a poem similar to this. Awesome, thanks!