Thankfulness to God needs to be a year-round exercise of faith

Lord, forgive me when I whine…

      There was the beautiful girl sitting in the restaurant across from me. Shiny blond hair, baby-smooth skin and the clear, the clear, untroubled eyes of youth. For a moment I was envious of that age that has long passed me by. Oh the adventures that lay ahead of her; the many things she would see, the doors her youth and beauty would open. Then I noticed her companion helping her out of the booth; handing the young woman her cane, the seeing-eye dog standing at attention by her side. She was young but she was blind. I’ve had a lifetime of vision. How often have I taken that gift for granted and not stopped to marvel at the wonders of God’s creation.

      Then there was the co-worker from a couple of jobs ago. I was better educated. I worked harder and longer. I had more seniority. I deserved the promotion that was given to him. How much time did I waste being resentful instead of productive? Oh, did I mention the man lost that plum of a job six months later due to down-sizing? He had a pregnant wife and two other children to worry about while I continued, comfortable in my position.

      I remember being resentful of the schoolmate. She grew up to have what seemed to be a perfect life – a successful husband, beautiful children and a new large and most beautiful home in the suburbs.  Why, I thought to myself, do some people seen to get it all? Then came the night of the fire…she lost that beautiful home…along with her husband and children, in the blaze. The stress caused her to miscarry.

      Gratitude is a matter of perspective, of priorities, not of “things.” It calls us to purposefully realize what it truly is that makes our lives worth living each and every day. While it might be easy to be resentful of what others might have, that resentment only serves to blind us to the many blessings in our own lives.

      What’s inside of you - what you cultivate as really important - is what, in the end, counts

      There is a story about Rudyard Kipling, a renowned early 20th century British poet and writer, who achieved fame and financial success through his craft.

      One day, a newspaper reporter approached him.

      “Mr. Kipling,” the reporter said slyly. “I understand that someone calculated that you now make over $100 a word for your writings.”

      With a raise of the eyebrows, Kipling stated he wasn’t aware of that.

      Reaching into his pocket, the reporter, with more than a bit of sarcasm and cynicism, pulled out $100 and handed it to Kipling. ''Here's $100, Mr. Kipling,” he said. “Now you give me one of your $100 words.''

      Looking thoughtfully at the money now in his hand, Kipling quietly folded the bills, put them into his pocket and said, “Thanks.”

      That was his one word. Quick-witted? Yes. Profound. Most certainly!

      “Thanks” is a word worth far more than $100, $1,000 or even $1 million. “Thanks” is a word that too often seems to stick in our throats, or worse, has simply been forgotten, only to be replaced by a sense of self-interest and entitlement. Seldom, if ever, do we apply “thanks” to our own lives.

      St. Paul often reminds us that expression of gratitude to God is not optional but rather should be expressed continually. In fact, not to be grateful could, and often does, lead us to sinfulness. We’ve all been blessed. A person aware of his/her blessings is a happier and healthier person…a person able to look at the world with an awareness of the vast beauty and possibilities it holds for each of our lives.

      Lord, forgive me when I whine and help me to always give thanks for the many blessings and bounty you have given me this day of Thanksgiving and all the days of my life.

     Debbie Bosak is the editor and general manager of Northwest Indiana Catholic Publications and a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Merrillville. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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