Gratitude For What We Have … and What We Don’t

At this time of year, there are many reminders to be thankful.

Thanksgiving.

Remembrance Day.

Christmas.

We give thanks. We name with gratitude all our blessings. We list them off and tell them to our children. Our homes. Food on the table. Good health. Family. Freedom. We are thankful for all the things we have.

But sometimes it good to think of the things we don’t have. We take so much for granted, in our lives of plenty. And so I decided to start naming some of the things I don’t have instead.

A child dying of starvation.

A father who wishes me dead instead of allowing me the freedom to love, or learn, or live.

A book that I cannot read because I don’t know how to.

A barbed wire fence around a refugee camp.

Hot, dry, used-up soil where I plant my seeds.

The fear of bombs falling on my home.

A bunker to run to whenever the sirens start.

Food stamps and rations.

How many pages could I fill of all the things I don’t have? Tens? Hundreds? Suddenly all the little things in my life shift into focus for what they really are. Trivialities. Annoyances. Nothing.

My goal this Christmas season is to take time being grateful for all the things I don’t have, even as I give thanks for all that I do. And maybe, along the way, I can show my children just how fortunate they are to live where they do, when they do!

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