I read a quote about Thanksgiving recently that made a big impression. It is by someone named Westermayer and says; “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
This reminds me that gratitude is a condition of the heart and not necessarily a byproduct of how much we actually have. For instance, I’m thinking of a young woman I know who comes from a privileged background. Hers is an intact family in which every advantage has been available.
She is lovely, intelligent and gifted. She is also rude, thoughtless and decidedly ungrateful. If she continues on the path she has chosen so far her life will be wasted. Her parents can’t figure out what’s wrong but it seems pretty clear to me.
The Pilgrims were impoverished yet they appreciated even the tiniest blessings. They saw beyond the graves they dug to gratitude for every one they didn’t have to dig. Each day of survival was a fresh reason to praise the God of all creation. As far as they were concerned, they had much to be thankful for.
We all have much to be thankful for but sometimes all our “stuff” blinds us from seeing it. That’s what has happened to the privileged young lady I know. She is bloated on her blessings. Yet, the way I see it, she is much more impoverished than any of our ancestors who celebrated that first Thanksgiving.