Thanksgiving is a time of peaceful and festive enjoyment, shared with our close family and friends. It is a time of remembrance, having fun, and being thankful for all of our blessings.
Yesterday, in the middle of busy preparations for today, I read a story that touched my heart in a major way. It was about a young man named Josh that had traveled to Zambia, Africa to help build a medical facility. While there, he befriended several young boys from the area, and he described their friendly enthusiasm as they worked side by side with the men on the building project.
One afternoon as they were finishing up with a pile of bricks, 2 rats ran out from under the pile. Immediately, the boys went into action. Working as a team, they caught the rats and killed them. Beaming with smiles as wide as the ocean and eyes sparkling like stars, the boys presented the dead rats to Josh. He didn’t understand the meaning, but managed a smile and a nod, then walked away to join his co-worker. He told his co-worker what had happened and was told that the boys had offered him a gift, but since he didn’t want it, the boys were going to eat the rats themselves. Josh felt a little queasy at the thought.
About a half hour later the boys returned, skipping and laughing, with hearts full of joy. Josh said it was at that moment that it hit him…“These boys had more joy from eating these rats than I have ever had from a turkey dinner. They were more thankful for their rat meat than I had ever been for pumpkin pie. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks…Who is poor?”
Each day when I pray, I give thanks for obvious blessings, or so I thought. But am I really thankful for all of my blessings? Do I actually show my joy and appreciation for everything God has done for me? I am ashamed to admit that the honest answer is no.
After reading that story, it made me consider how far too often I find myself grumbling and complaining about trivial little inconveniences. Things that don’t really matter, and yet are allowed to cause a spirit of discontentment in me. Things like having to wait in line at the grocery store and getting impatient, when I should be feeling thankful that I have a grocery store to go to and money to buy food with. Or complaining about doing laundry, when I should be feeling thankful for having clothes to wear. I often gripe about all the repairs that have to be done to our cabin, instead of being thankful that we have a roof over our heads.
Today, I am thankful for this story. It reminded me of just how blessed I really am, and it stirred up the fire in my heart to want to share with and help others. It made me remember what is truly important in life…the relationships we build and the love we give.
I have so much to be thankful for, big and small things. So I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and I want to say that I am so very grateful for all my family and friends. Thank you for being a part of my life. Each of you have made a mark on my heart, and I will treasure it always.
God bless! – Amber Lea