I must start this post by saying Thanksgiving just doesn’t feel the same this year…I’m cooking for my Dad’s family, and I know it will be a great day, but I don’t really feel overly excited about Thanksgiving. The obvious explanation would be that this is the first Thanksgiving since Mom Putt passed away and that’s making me feel some kinda way, but I don’t think that’s it. I think what’s getting me is the lack of gratitude in people’s hearts that I view all too regularly…that’s what makes Thanksgiving seem a bit different for me this year.
In this past year it seems that I’ve reached that grand age where I’ve learned to be grateful for the small things (which really are big things)…a job, a home, a paycheck, a family (biological and acquired), transportation, a relationship with the Lord…I find myself no longer caught up on material things, I’m just grateful for the daily blessings of life, strength, and health. I no longer need to live in an exclusive neighborhood, a safe one will suffice…I no longer need to drive a luxury car, a nice one will do…I don’t need to eat at the fanciest restaurants just because, I’m fine with a home-cooked meal…I’ve reached that place where my status (how I am perceived by others) is no longer what’s most important. Instead, I want to know that my life is making a difference in the life of someone else. To me, that’s a perfect way to give thanks.
Tonight I had the opportunity to live out this goal in a very special way. I was once again able to help prepare and serve dinner at the NIH Children’s Inn. Over the past few months, I’ve found this to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job…to serve those who are bravely facing some pretty challenging diseases with their heads held high, along with their families. I’ve always had such a great time on these dinner nights…it’s as if for that one hour of dinner time, sickness is thrown out the window, and everyone is viewed as equal. Tonight, we had a spaghetti dinner, and yours truly pulled an absolute Mom Putt move and took over the cooking in the kitchen, I put some seasonings and most importantly love in the sauce, and if I must say so…it was some pretty good spaghetti. But it wasn’t just me, the whole group did their part…we cooked, we helped fix plates of food, we laughed with the families, we brought smiles to the faces of children and adults, and we enjoyed giving back for the good of someone else. It was a perfect way to give thanks as the Thanksgiving holiday rapidly approaches us.
For me, that’s what Thanksgiving is really all about…not only giving thanks verbally, but showing that I’m thankful for the blessings of my life by giving back for the good of others. In thinking about Mom Putt earlier this evening, one thing came to my mind. Mom Putt would give freely even when she didn’t have it to give…she might have to borrow the money from elsewhere or make promises based on someone else’s resources, but she didn’t mind giving. After she had raised her children, and helped with raising her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she took in foster children and anyone else who needed a home. Her door was never closed to anyone…she didn’t have much to give, but she would never see anyone hungry or homeless. That’s what a life of Thanksgiving is all about…giving freely just because it’s the right thing to do.
I personally think we get caught up on ourselves far too often…we get so fixated on our personal goals that we don’t take the time out to see if someone in our circle needs a helping hand. One of my greatest flaws, perhaps, is my insatiable desire to help others…I will truly give my last dime to help someone else. I will commit myself to helping someone even when I know I don’t have the time, but I just believe God has blessed me too much to not give back. I know there are some people who don’t understand why I give so much of my time and energy to select causes, but everything isn’t meant to be understood by everybody. I give myself away because others have sacrificed and given pieces of themselves away for my sake. Now it’s time for me to do the same in return.
So, as the Thanksgiving holiday draws near, let’s not just express our thanks verbally, but let’s commit to showing our thanks by pouring into the life of someone else. That’s a perfect way to give thanks!
Until next time…