Friday, November 25, 2011

Why Be Thankful?

Thanksgiving means little to some people. Whether because of a different upbringing, or personal limitations, finding something to be thankful for often stretches us because we cannot “see as others see”.

When I served in the military and saw my first dead human-body, I was in shock.
When I was 'shot' the first time, I was frightened.
When I went to prison, I was in despair.
And when I learned my nine-month old nephew would likely die from cancer, I was angry at God.
Yet when someone taught me to see with “new eyes” the things which I had learned & experienced, I was forced to learn to think differently, to see the whole world in a new way that went counter to my upbringing.
It meant that I learn to accept life as unfair, and rather than complaining on it, to do something to improve my outlook and perhaps the experience of others around me.

In today’s world it seems we want to remove the mysterious. We all want “evidence” and we want to be “right.” In religious and political circles we’ve abandoned civility for the sake of proving who is “right” and who is “wrong.” Richard Rohr says he doesn’t recall Jesus ever saying “This is my commandment: thou shalt be right.” The amazing arrogance of people today to claim the truth creates walls, wars, and wailing.
Where is the embrace of the mysterious? When asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt 22:36-40)
Does loving our neighbor require that we first prove who is right? Does standing in awe at the sunset require that we first argue about color refraction? If I am in Venice, Florida and pull into a service station, do I demand proof that what comes out of the hose is gasoline before I pump it into the tank of my beautiful car?
Faith, by definition, requires walking ahead without clear “evidence or proof” that what we believe will happen. If we remove faith and the mysterious from our lives, we are not reaching for our ultimate best; rather, we have deteriorated into mechanized robots — or as Einstein says, “as good as dead.”
How concerned are you about being right? -Dan Miller

I cannot find anywhere that God says we can expect life to be “fair”. So how do we overcome the unjust of life, and learn to live with gratitude?

If you had a second chance to see things events in your life anew, how would it look?

Could you be sad and pray for those whose lives are gone; then move on to help the ones who remain??
Could you learn to be grateful for the placement of the bullets & shrapnel hitting you, or the fire that engulfed you? (read more of the recent DWTS winner J.R. Martinez)
Could you learn to pray with other inmates, helping them to better know God, then to earn their GED?
Could you learn to love the family & friends you have now, no matter how brief or painful the time that remains?

The best second chances are not required or expected, which is why they're so nice. Maybe you should make the choice to forgive someone, even if they don't deserve it, or maybe you should start over and try again. -Chris Guillebeau

I am thankful for Jesus love in spite of all my sinfulness.
I am thankful for learning to see life with new eyes.
I am thankfulful for the love I receive from others, no matter how imperfect.

Life often hurts, is unfair, and can lead us to many regrets.
Now the only second chance I want is to love God with all I have in me without any shame or hesitation, to love others more than the they or I may deserve, and to forgive no matter how large or small.
Because then THANKFULNESS comes easily.
And my gratitude allows a new joy to live in me rather than any poison of despair, hurt, or fear.

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