This is one of my favorite times of the year. It reminds me of the story of the blind boy who was sitting on the sidewalk with a sign that read "I am blind. Please help me". There were not many coins in the blind boy's hat. So a passerby took the handmade sign and wrote a different message on the other side. In no time, there were coins jingling in the hat from each person that passed. The next day, the blind boy heard the familiar footsteps of the passerby and asked him what changes had he made to his sign. People had started donating coins. The passerby said: "I made your message more hopeful". I wrote: “Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.” The second sign showed a more positive message that we should be thankful that we can see the beauty in this world.
Years ago, a friend in Columbia, S.C. was walking along the river. There was an old black man fishing. My friend noticed a slight slant to the old man's smile. In talking, he learn that the man had suffered a stroke only six months before and yet he was strong. He did not appear to have any frailties. The man said that after the stroke, his son carried him outside daily to the grandchildrens' swing set. He used the bars and exercised to gain his strength and coordination. He was grateful and thankful that people cared and wanted to overcome his condition.
Today many see Thanksgiving as a gluttonous feast. We need to learn to regularly practice expressing gratitude rather than criticism. We will always have something to complain about but step back sometime and turn those complaints into something to be thankful for. When we sit around the table among family, among friends, or when alone: reflect on the good things in our lives.
This letter is rambling but the main point is be thankful for what you have and think positive. Life will give you 50 reasons to cry. Change that into 100 reasons to smile. We cannot change the past but we can prepare for our future with hope. Make Thanksgiving a part of your "everyday" and not just once a year. To see others smiling is a beautiful thing. To know that you were the reason for their smiling is even better.