Here we are in the month of November, the one month of the year when everybody seems to be grateful for something – actually 30 somethings – one new thing every day. While I applaud the effort of those truly trying to show their gratitude, I find myself wondering every year, are these people thankful for these things all year long or just when they can post it on Facebook for all the world to see? Do any of us really understand what it means to be grateful? Are those petty little things actually the things in life for which we are the most thankful? Why do we take so much for granted, whether that means appreciating something just once a year or never giving it a thought at all?
This past weekend, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary in Cartagena, Colombia (I’m grateful for business trips to exotic places and for frequent flyer mileage). While we were there, we took an excursion that led us off the beaten path and through a rural landscape that revealed poverty the likes of which I have never seen, and I’m sure few people in this country could imagine. We recently began sponsoring a young boy in Colombia, and I cried when I looked at the huts outside of my window and pictured him living in one of them. We asked if we could send him shoes or clothing, and we were told no because it might cause him harm to have things that nobody else has. How sad, how tragic to think that a simple pair of shoes is too much for a person to even hope for.
I read somewhere recently that our families are getting smaller while our houses are getting larger. We have accumulated more “stuff” than any generation before us, yet with all that people have, there are those who are still crying for more. Even the poorest people in our country have more than those in 3rd World nations, yet the ones we saw last weekend are out there working hard every day trying to feed their families while here, over 1/3 of the US population is on welfare. So many of us drive around in luxury cars without a care in the world while approximately 50,000 of our US Veterans are living on the streets. We can all find time to go to Disney World, but 85% of nursing home residents never have anyone visit them.
Hey, listen, I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to buying things I don’t need, eating more than my share, taking for granted all that I am blessed to have. All I ask is that every United States citizen stops and takes a minute to think about all that they have and how lucky they are to live in a land where we have the ability to run to the store for milk, shop whenever we want new clothes, or even just change our shoes when our feet get sore. Be grateful that you have family and friends, that you have a home and means of transportation, that you have the freedom to worship, work, and play however you please, and that there are men and women standing guard at night while you’re asleep making sure that you can wake up tomorrow and still have all of those opportunities.
We are among the lucky ones. Remember, not just today, but every day to thank God, your parents, your teachers, and our military for all of the sacrifices they have made for you. It’s not about the cars and houses and material things. It’s about the life you live and those who are a part of it. Smile and be thankful – every minute of every day.
Special thanks on this Veteran’s Day to my father, Richard; my father-in-law, David; our friend, Nick; and my nephew, Ty for their service to our country.
Amy Schisler is the author of two mystery / suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores and online. Amy’s newest mystery, Picture Me, was released in August of 2015 and is available in stores, at Amazon, and at Barnes & Noble. Both novels are also available for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks. Amy’s children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.
You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.