When I was in my 20′s I had a roommate who was from Bosnia. He would tell me stories about what his family endured during the Bosnian war in the early 90’s. How he and his family slept in shifts – keeping watch with guns to protect their loved ones. He was an engineer in his country and was unable to get a job in his field when he arrived in North America. He put himself through school to achieve the Canadian equivalent for mechanical engineering – while working the night shift at a doughnut shop for two years. I never once heard him complain about his struggles to get ahead in his new country. He was very determined and focused as he worked hard to achieve his dreams.
During the Thanksgiving season there were always a large group of us who lived away from our families so we always made a point to celebrate the holiday together. There was one year that stands out when my roommate Milo joined us. We decided to go around the table and have each guest say what they are thankful for. It was Milo’s turn and he stood up and said, “I am thankful that I now live in a country that is plentiful and safe”. You could hear a pin drop after he said this – as we all looked at each other and knew that what he was saying was something that we very much take for granted. It was one of my best memories of “Thanksgiving”. Ever since then, I have a tradition in my home that before we start our meal, each person sitting at the table says what they are thankful for.
Too often we don’t remember to be grateful for what we have or receive on Thanksgiving or on any other day. We become so involved in the negative dramas of our lives that we see only the stress-filled job, the uncaring spouse, the stack of bills we can’t pay, the misbehaved children, the lack of time. If we take another look at our lives, we can always find something for which to be grateful – the sun in the sky, a friend, a warm place to sleep, a few bucks in our pocket, a pet who curls up with you at night. It doesn’t matter about how much or little we have – we can still be grateful for what we do have.
The point of Thanksgiving is to remember the things we have to be grateful for. It’s our special time to give thanks – not just for the obvious, like food, but for the fortunate moments of blessings that we receive each day. With a little effort, you’ll find you can fill your Thanksgiving experience with a heaping portion of gratitude. By doing so, the food on your plate will taste that much sweeter this year.
So as you sit down at the table with your family and friends, remember all the things that you are blessed with, and give thanks that you were blessed with them.