Every year we read about things for which we should be grateful or thankful. Most of us, I would dare say, would agree that we have much to be thankful for — if we’re normal-minded and give it even half a thought. Among those big and easy-to-recognize things that most of us are grateful for are, not necessarily in order of importance: our health, our family and friends, a roof over our head, food to eat, clothes to wear, and work of some sort to do. Of course, there are scads of other particular things for which any one of us might be thankful, and each of us who spend even a little bit of time in musing about life or meditating on the subject of their general blessings know what they are.
We are thankful we have food to eat, yet are we thankful for those who devote their life to the job of raising that food and making sure it’s as safe and healthful as it can be? Do we appreciate all those involved in the harvesting, the packaging, and the transporting of that food to market and those who choose to operate the stores or facilities where we can go and purchase that food for our own consumption?
We’re thankful for our health, yet do we appreciate those who research the health problems that man suffers from and don’t give up until they find a way to alleviate that suffering or cause it to no longer be a problem? Do we understand the hardships and even ridicule that health pioneers had to, and still have to, suffer in order to make our lives more pain- and suffering-free? Do we appreciate those doctors who have turned to informing the public about the truth behind the various health hoaxes and the better ways to treat common health problems without spending a fortune and without submitting to the often-suggested cut, poison, and burn prescriptions for “health”? Do we appreciate those doctors who do not condemn us to an early death or a miserable existence by their words, putting the thought into our head that we can never get better?
Do we appreciate the gatherers of the cotton and the shearers of the wool that make it possible for those who weave the material from which the cloth or yarn is made, which eventually leads to appreciatingthose who sew our clothes or create our sweaters or more, whether by hand or machine, making it easy for us to buy what we want in a
convenient way or receive those thoughtful homemade gifts?
Do we appreciate the architects who learned how to design and build homes safely and those who chose to supply the materials and the labor with which to build those homes? Are we grateful for those who make the homes “homey,” by design or effort, so we can feel happy in our chosen living space?
And with so many occupations and paths to follow, do we appreciate those who chose to do those jobs that are unpleasant, yet necessary in some small or big way for the smooth flowing of how we want to live?
When we see a clean street, do we think of those who keep it that way, or do we only think of the street at all when it is littered and then complain about the mess?
We — all of us — could go on and on about so many things that we take for granted — and in a way, it’s a good thing to be able to take them for granted, which means we can depend on them. Yet at least once a
year, as we consciously dwell on our blessings, it might be an enlightening experience to think about those blessings so seemingly way, way in the background of life — such as having people available to us who choose to care for the deceased in such a way as to help them look their best for their funerals, or the blessing of knowing there are those who create standards of safety to ensure no child will accidentally get hurt by the little seats in which their mothers place them or that the brakes won’t fail when we need them most — such thoughts can add a new dimension of richness to the usual counting of our blessings.
Many people do not necessarily like to say a prayer or even hear a public prayer, and just because it’s Thanksgiving Day, that will not change for them. However, gratitude or thankfulness does not have to be expressed in prayer. The simple exercise or even “game,” if you will, of going around the table and having everyone express one thing for which they’re grateful, preferably something that no one would ever have guessed, can serve the same purpose as putting thought into one’s many blessings and thanking God for them all.
Thanking God in a prayer, or playing a game to dredge up little-thought-of blessings that you can share with family or friends, all fit into the same category: Things for which we are grateful and things for which we are truly thankful.
It’s up to each of us when it comes to who we want to thank for those blessings. But go deep, there might be more to the gratitude story than you ever imagined.
A little P.S. to this article is my personal and special gratitude to Don Snook for his production of this newspaper every week. He never fails us, and he does such a good job! I’m leaving it at that, even though I have plenty of gratitude for so very much more..
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.