Don’t Take Life for Granted! Give Thanks Everyday.
Words cannot express my utter dismay and despair when I heard about the bombings in Paris. Not again. All those innocent lives ended too soon, without a chance to even say good bye to their loved ones. And all the countless lives forever changed by the loss of a loved one or even the pain endured by those who were injured. Life is truly short, and tomorrow is indeed not promised to any of us.
When tragedies like this happen I always think of how we take life so much for granted. We rush through life, some of us not even taking the time to breathe or live in the moment. We are always in the future, making our big plans, forgetting to live in the present. We forget that our lives can be snatched away so quickly and unexpectedly from us.
As thanksgiving approaches, we need to take the time to stop and take stock of our lives. Are we taking it all for granted? Do we take time to let our family members know how important they are to us? Do we give thanks for the people we eat dinner with every day or do we take them for granted, that they will always be there, and we’ll have the opportunity tomorrow to show them that we care?
1. Hold your family close to you
We come across different family dynamics at work, and I’m always amazed at the parents who spend the entire visit, threatening and shouting at their kids. It’s almost like the kids are an inconvenience. I’ve had teens cry because they felt unloved by their parents. And then I meet those that I can’t help wanting to linger a minute longer in the exam room with because there is so much love and encouragement, that is actually palpable. You feel warm inside when you spend time with a family that shows respect and appreciates and loves each other. Very few parents actually set out to make their kids’ lives miserable. Parents are so stressed out, trying to make ends meet that they don’t have any energy left when they get home. Unfortunately, they take out their frustration on their spouses and families, the very people that they are working so hard for. I challenge parents today, to save some of that energy and time for their children. Make the time with family, no matter how limited it is, count for something. Hold your family close. Family is precious. They will be there with you at your lowest time and rejoice with you in your successes that is if you have taken the time to show love and affection. Hold your family close and enjoy this great blessing you have.
2. Give a little of yourself to others.
I believe that there are seasons of life, and for most families with little kids, it really is very hard for them to volunteer or go on Mission trips or do really big things for others. I’m learning that even the little things we do for others count. Take the time to smile and greet your neighbor and see their face light up that you acknowledged them. You can donate gently used clothes or canned goods to others. I so appreciate it when someone lets me in while stuck in traffic and I find that when I let someone in and they say thank you, it just makes my day. Teach your teens to do little things like holding the door for someone, or even calling and talking to their grandparents who miss them. Help other people even if no one notices. The joy that you gave someone will come back to you multiplied many times over.
3. Give thanks in all things.
This is one of the hardest things for people to do. I think our default setting is to complain. Many of us take all the blessings we have for granted, our freedom, our families, our homes, our health, the fact that we wake up every day and have a job to go to, these are all taken for granted. And yet I find myself asking how we give thanks in the face of tragedy? I’m always overwhelmed at all the love that others show even for people they don’t know, when there is tragedy. It’s like God brings out the best in all of us. People have pulled strangers out of burning cars. Our troops sacrifice their lives to keep us safe in our beloved country. Countries support each other. People you don’t even know reach out and help you, when you least expect it. We really have a lot to be thankful for and we should teach our teens to give thanks. It makes us all better people, when we have hearts of gratitude.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I hope we all take time to stop and give thanks for just being alive. I hope we give thanks for the gift of family and friends, the gift of good health and laughter. Let’s give thanks every day that we wake up, every time that we drive or fly safely. Let’s give thanks for the stranger who stopped and smiled and said hello, and for the opportunities we are given to show kindness to our neighbors and friends. Life should not be taken for granted. We should be grateful for each day we are given, and live every day to its fullest, with joy and thanksgiving, until our lives are taken from us.
For those who lost their lives in Paris, may their souls rest in peace and may God comfort the families of those who lost loved ones, and strengthen and heal those who were injured.