Blessings and Gratitude

As a nation, we have many blessings. We have the right to disagree with one another without concern of execution for our thoughts and beliefs. Many areas in the nation are not safe due to gang activity and other terrifying instances that occur. Still, overall, much of the United States have populations that continue to live with a roof over their head, food to eat, and access to medical care. It may not always be affordable, but the options are there. Unfortunately, expenses keep going up, and often it feels like those who aren’t working are afforded more luxury than those who do. Perception is an ugly beast. It makes us judge others that we don’t see as having the same problems that we do. We don’t know what others deal with, and instead of judging them, we should focus on the better things in our lives.

Those of you with children are blessed. Do you have any concept of how many people struggle with infertility and either have to give up on that dream or find other ways to make their dreams a reality? Or what about folks who are dealing with life-threatening diseases? Have you ever stopped to put yourself in someone else’s shoes that you might love to gossip about throughout the day? If you have good health, a roof over your head, and food to eat, you are very blessed. My personal favorites are the folks who love to get on a religious rampage and talk about how many people will go to hell if they don’t follow the Lord’s laws. I’m not going to argue the religious spectrum because it’s a very personal journey. But, unless they have been to the other side and returned, they only have their interpretation of the Bible. I still remember reading how the robber on the cross with Jesus beside him believed that he was the Son of God. I remember reading how Jesus looked at him and said, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) That passage reminds me that we are all sinners, and it isn’t our place to determine who goes to heaven and who doesn’t. We have to accept what we believe and know that we are living the best we can. It’s how we show unconditional love to others and treat one another that shows how blessed we are.

Over the holiday, I rested. I wore my body out from all the social media campaigns I work. My mind needed time to recharge. Thankfully, I had a place that I could rest and enjoy beautiful meals with family. I have to remind myself that many people do not have a roof over their heads this holiday. They lack the support needed to get ahead in life. I remember to count my blessings and try not to turn the other cheek when I see someone in need.
The church I attend has a community pantry. It’s a no-questions-asked, pull up, and get food that the community needs. It’s challenging to keep the supply stocked because the demand is great. Many people benefit from this ministry and have written notes to the church about the blessing this ministry provides. There is tremendous gratitude from the locals for this assistance.

Many non-profits provide services that are greatly needed and appreciated in their communities. They depend on generous donations to get them through trying times. Yet, the recipients of those services are special for those who are most affected during difficult days. I hope none of you ever lose everything, but if you do, you aren’t alone. Many people have been in your shoes. In my late teens and early twenties, I was homeless. I don’t talk about that time in my life much. I learned to live on the streets. Everything I managed to acquire was through hustling. It wasn’t a fun time in my life. As I began to change my circumstances, life got better and worse all at the same time. When you hit rock bottom, you find out quickly who your true friends are and who has been using you. In some cases, it took years to find out who used me more than others. I’m grateful that I had my blinders taken off and came out with my dignity and self-respect.

As you start this week preparing for the hectic deadlines, the calls, reports, and activities, take a moment to collect your thoughts before starting the day. You might meet someone new or touch someone’s life with kind gestures or words. After all, it never hurts to share our blessings and gratitude with others. It might change our outlook on life as well as someone else. Have a great day, everyone.

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