When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. — G.K. Chesterton
This Thanksgiving, I was visibly moved by the testimonies and attitudes of several citizens of Long Branch, New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Many who had lost everything but their lives, were questioned by a reporter about what they were thankful for this year (2012).
One by one, with unquestionable sincerity and gratitude, they gave surprising reasons for gratitude as they stood in front of storm– ravaged homes watching their prized possessions and life memories being moved to dumpsters and piled on garbage heaps. I was literally brought to tears as one woman, seemingly without a second thought, said, “I’m grateful that my husband and I are alive and safe.” She said, I don’t know where our next meal will come from. I’m just grateful we can share it together.” Another said , “It’s my daughter’s first birthday, then simply smiled and walked away. A firefighter whose home and local firehouse had been completely demolished said, he and his family would celebrate with their “sister” firehouse that had already become their second home. He added, “those guys are better cooks anyway.” And, a restaurant owner whose Long Branch site was destroyed, invited everyone to celebrate at another of his locations.
Watching these brave citizens helped me realize how truly Blessed I am simply to be alive and that whatever I am going through pales in comparison. I saw what it truly means to give thanks in ALL things and how to be “content in whatever state we find ourselves.” Yes, I am positively Blessed.
Hard times and struggle seems to bring out the best in us. We tend to set aside our differences and to stand firmly on the common ground of simply being human–a beautiful sight, I might add. I don’t know why it takes the worst to bring out our best or why the threat of death causes us to appreciate life. Nor do I understand why many times, we must lose everything in order to gain an appreciation for anything. But here’s what I know: Life has a way of humbling us and bringing us to our knees. Poverty helps one appreciate prosperity. Opportunities to grow in love knock at the doors of chaos. And on a very personal note, I know that God’s Grace is sufficient for whatever we must endure.”
We have in us to withstand whatever life is able to do to us. Nothing can touch us except God allows it to be so. In fact, we don’t really know what we can endure until all hell breaks loose in our lives and we can say as did these citizens of Long Branch, New Jersey, “through hell and high water, we’re still here. We may be burdened, but nevertheless we are still positively Blessed. Even in the most difficult of times, if we do not give up, we will discover no matter how bad life seems, GOD is still positively GOOD. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!
PRAYER: Thank you Father, for this pause to reflect on how positively Blessed I am in the face of the suffering of others. I “thank you for your power. It has resurrected me, over painful circumstances that my poor soul could not flee.”