05 N1903P69003CWhen we think about gratitude or thankfulness, we often table the thought until we get a little closer to that November holiday with the turkey, a four-day weekend and the conversation with our weird uncle. But genuine gratitude is more a way of life than an annual celebration.

I got a little miffed when I turned on the news the other day — which isn’t difficult anymore — because it seemed to be more opinion and editorial than a reporting of the facts. To make matters worse, the angle from which the news show presented each story seemed to be positioned in such a way that it was intentionally trying to rile people up.

I’m grateful to live in an era where communication and information technology have advanced and continue to advance beyond anything I dared to dream as a young child. Still, the more I see irresponsible use of the platforms technology provides, the easier it is to see that we humans suffer from a lack of gratitude and thankfulness in our lives.

Chances are you woke up this morning in a comfortable bed, in a house with a solid foundation and a roof with no leaks. You likely turned on a light, used indoor plumbing, and poured some coffee into a cup, settled into a chair and began to ponder what the day ahead held for you. You might have picked a book or turned on your computer to get your mind in gear before breakfast.

Every one of those things is worth being thankful for. Not everyone in the world has those things. A bed, a home, electricity and plumbing — those are all things most of us take for granted. But to a considerable percentage of the world’s population, they are only dreams.

The past few months have taught us something else about gratitude and privilege, too. We’ve learned the value we place on relationships. We’ve discovered we not only enjoy, but need interaction with other human beings to maintain some sort of mental stability. Our family, coworkers, church and social connections are vitally important to us, and we learned that the loss of freedom (another thing to be thankful for) to exercise those relationships freely was daunting, to say the very least.

What I hope you’ll see if you made it this far, is that there is much to be thankful for in our immediate surroundings. Because when we learn to sense those things and express gratitude for them, it begins to spill over into the rest of our lives. We begin to notice the beauty of the landscape instead of the length of the drive, and we see the diversity of the people in any crowd rather than notice how many people are “not like us.”

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