Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Happy Thanksgiving

Blessings to count

Happy Thanksgiving!

this design says "Give Thanks."

It’s Thanksgiving in the USA this Thursday. Many nations, cultures, and religions through the ages and throughout the world have designated official days to give thanks. But seriously. No matter what day it is, there are always blessings to count.

If you don’t think that ‘s true–or at least not for youyou’re overlooking some important aspects of your life. Including that you have one

The image quote says, "Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. Notice them."

What blessings?

It’s a near-certainty that there are people who love you. Please note: companion animals count as “people” for the purpose of establishing this fact (it’s never wise to discount companion animals, in any case). They are among the many blessings it’s especially important to count.

But also please note that there really are people who care about your welfare . . . even if they don’t personally know you. This means that you’re actually not ideally suited to count all the people who care about you. This is because you can’t read minds, and you don’t know everyone. 

This goes double if you’re depressed. You may not believe it, but you DO have blessings to count.

The image quote says, "the things you take for granted someone else is praying for."

There are politicians who will brag that the economy is booming, and that’s true for a lot of people (particularly those in whose favor the system is biased). If you’re not one of those people, however, that doesn’t mean your life is all blight, unless you refuse to see it any other way. Even the least advantaged among us has blessings to count.

Beyond being blessed

The quote from Camille Pissarro says, "Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."

The best way to count one’s blessings, in my experience, is to pass blessings on to others. Best of all is to do it with all the generosity we can manage. If you have blessings to count (and I believe all of us do), then you have the means to not only enjoy blessings, but to be one to others.

Believe it or not, the act of giving–of being a blessing–multiplies our own feelings of joy and well-being. We humans are social creatures by nature. We are innately programmed to connect with others. Thus, it stands to reason that we feel most fulfilled, most right with the world, when we can do good things for others

Evolution has dictated that people need to work together, especially in the face of challenges. It’s the most effective survival tool we have. The “loneliness epidemic” of today is a direct result of people losing their connections to others, and thus their sense of purpose, their sense of worth. 

Reaching out to others with a helping hand or even simply an encouraging word is essential to rebuilding a sense of connection. In general, the more connections you make the more blessings you’ll be able to count.

This image quote says, "Don't just count your blessings. Be the blessing other people count on."

The blessing of “thank you”

Never underestimate the power of an encouraging word. It’s the most under-used and extraordinary gift you can give, sometimes. It costs no money at all, “only” a moment of thought and noticing

Over the years, I’ve written several posts about saying “thank you.” One of my very most popular posts is the one on ways to thank first responders. I recently reiterated thoughts on gratitude to veterans, and another one of my all-time most popular posts is the one on ways to thank veterans.

Honoring those who give of themselves to serve our community is always appropriate. But sometimes I like to challenge myself to find others who deserve thanks and rarely get it. If you’re traveling this holiday, you’ll have lots of opportunities. Consider a thank-you or a kind word to an airline or highway employee who’s trying to make things work, in a challenging situation

The image quote from Henry Ward Beecher says, "The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings."

Do you thank wait staffhotel employees, or sales clerks who smooth the way for you? Do you appreciate those skill or knowledge helps you? You might rationalize that they’re only doing their job, but if you use that as an excuse to treat them like machines or tools, take warning: you’re developing a crabbed and callous soul, and it sucks to be you.

Connect with people. Sow peace, not division. Be a blessing to others, and it’s well-nigh guaranteed you’ll have a generous bounty of your own blessings to count.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to Vikayatskina via 123RF, for the “Give Thanks!” wreath design. I’m also grateful to Fight for Life via Mimipopa, for the “thousands of tiny miracles” quote, to Picture Quotes for the “take for granted” quote-image and  the “be the blessing other people count on” quote-image, and to Everyday Power, for the quotes from Camille Pissarro and Henry Ward Beecher. Finally, many thanks to Residential Home Solutions (via Hallmark?) for the header image. I appreciate all of you!

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2 Comments

  1. Gigi Sherrell Norwood

    I mentor high school students at a school for the arts. Years ago I overheard one young man bewail his college options in dire terms so, with his counselor’s permission, I met him for lunch on campus and we talked about that. We only met a couple of times, during which I reinforced his right to go after the college he wanted to attend. (His parent was pushing to keep him closer to the nest). We’ve kept in touch casually since then as he went off to college and graduated with honors. The other day he posted a comment about how he was asked to mentor a young man–a fifth-grader from his old neighborhood. He said it felt weird to be asked, but good to talk to the boy. He wasn’t sure what he could offer other than a listening ear. I say, sometimes that’s all it takes.

    • Sometimes a listening ear can be a lifeline. We never know the magnitude of the value our “little acts of graciousness” have for others. Sometimes it’s not that much, sometimes it’s literally life and death. Thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts!

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