Thankful yet Grateful

We spend a lot of our time thinking about things that we’d like to change. We worry about where we’re heading in life. Is it where we hoped we’d be? And if it’s not we then worry about how we’re ever going to get to that place. I don’t think we’re ever satisfied! We always want more. Always believe there’s a next step to come.

Perhaps though we’re looking at things through the wrong lens? Maybe where we hoped we would be isn’t where we’re truly meant to be? What we thought was important suddenly seems a little less significant with the benefit of time or hindsight. Or maybe the older we get we learn to value things differently? Perspectives change over time and perhaps that’s part of the process?

Perspective though is a wonderful thing. Because among all the hopes and dreams we aspire towards its easy to lose sight of the things in our lives we should be thankful for. A thankful heart is a wonderful place to be in. Because in that moment everything is pushed aside and you are reminded of what really matters. It is a simple place but not always a place we remind ourselves to be in.

One of things i am thankful for occurs on one Sunday each month within my church. We meet downstairs for lunch afterwards. There we have so much fun. We joke, we share honest conversations. We encourage….we do a lot of things but mainly we are people who are showing a willingness and a value towards each other in that room. It feels very right every time we do this.

On this particular Sunday the question was put to us “what is something we are thankful for today?”. We went around the room, not one person had anything they couldn’t be thankful for. For some the things they were thankful for were simple things. For others there were bigger things. But for each person who spoke you could sense the value of what they were thankful for. It was a real nice place to be and a reminder that we are always in need of things that bring us comfort, support and opportunity.

Being thankful for something is an appreciation for a moment you find yourself in and realising the benefit or good that comes from that situation. The word thankful can also be used as grateful. Gratefulness is where you find an appreciation for your thankfulness. It’s like the moment you realise that what you were thankful for was actually something deeper, more significant to you and you gained a deeper appreciation for it. Gratefulness.

You can be thankful for the people you meet, or the food provided for you day to day. You can also be thankful for having great friends. But what if those great friends are there for you, look out for you, support you when you need it most? That there is something to be grateful for.

For me the friendships I’ve collected in life all mean something different to me. Each of them matter. They all play a role weather they believe it or not. They’ve all impacted me positively. That is something I am most thankful for.

There are then other friendships. Some of them are family. Others are like family, just not by blood. These types of friendships are deeper, more like carrying an unspoken bond. These are relationships in which not only am I thankful for but also grateful.

These are relationships in which there is more than just an appreciation for the friendship. There is respect. There is compassion, empathy, love, care, concern, hope and encouragement all rolled in there. If gratefulness was a river bed, well then this river would be overflowing!

The challenge for us all here is to remind ourselves. First, to remind ourselves to be thankful for big things and little things. For day to day things. To remind ourselves that our opportunities are provided for. But also there is a challenge there to find the things to be grateful for in those moments. Be thankful for family yet grateful for the time you are able to spend with that family.

Learn to appreciate the things that you are thankful for. Being thankful or grateful starts with the mind. It is an attitude. It is the ability to be mindful of your scenario. I think it also helps us to remain humble and honest of ourselves. It can have a way of also keeping us grounded. In fact a thankful heart probably teaches us more than the odd valuable lesson.

I want to finish with this quote:

“When asked if my cup is half full or half empty, my only response is I am thankful I even have a cup”.

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