Thank you!

The most important thing is to be aware, especially when things take a turn for the better. For example, today my plan was to take our vehicle to the mechanic, because over the weekend it refused to start. Just thinking of calling and waiting for a tow truck made it hard to get going this morning. I don´t know why, but I decided to give the car one more try. I put in the key and... it started! The trip to the mechanic was cheerful, and the problem was resolved quickly. So I started the day very thankful. Maybe I could have chalked it up to chance and moved on. Sure I would still have been happy, but thankful?

Being thankful means feeling that in some way someone went out of their way to make life easier or nicer for you. The obvious example is receiving a gift. Your friend gives you a birthday present and you feel thankful. So it is happiness with a plus, because there is an additional special intent behind the gift giving. You might win a pair of shoes in a raffle, but when it is a gift, you remember your friend every time you slip the shoes on your feet. This level of thankfulness is simple to understand, but we don´t get gifts from friends everyday. Even still, we can feel this same "happiness with a plus" all the time if we want to.

How often do we see a loved one smile or hear them laugh? How often do we hear a song we like? How many times a week do we catch the green light at the intersection? How many times a day is the food we eat delicious? Are these things to be thankful for? Certainly. But are we? Sometimes I´m not... at least not consciously, but each time I give thanks for these apparently little things I see how much love God gives me each and every moment. So here we are again - acknowledging something nice in our lives that didn´t happen just by chance. It is a purposeful gift that carries a good intention along with it.

Let´s say you are planning a family picnic. You hope it doesn´t rain and your hopes are fulfilled. What do you feel at that moment? You are setting out the napkins and plates, dishing out the potato salad and humming a cheerful tune. You are happy, right? But if you are thankful you experience something more profound. Your gratefulness extends to others, and they sense you are more than just happy. It is not just sunshine, but the sun shining with birds singing along. We must be aware and alert for these moments and take advantage of the opportunities to be thankful. Suddenly we realize that every moment of every day presents us with reasons.

Open your eyes. Look. At your hands. At your feet. Take a deep breath. Listen to your heart. See the ones you love with your eyes. Every moment of every day gives us reason to give thanks.