"In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God."
"Be thankful"... this is what my mom and dad always said to me and my sister. My Sunday school teacher said it too. Usually to make us feel better after a bad day, a bad grade, a bad haircut, or when we wanted something and the answer was "no". Mom would say, "Someone else had a worse day, find a reason to be thankful!"
I know my mom was trying to teach me that there's always .. in everything .. a reason to be thankful. I get it I guess .. but everything? Buddhism teaches to be grateful, period. Buddhist believe that gratitude is to be cultivated as a habit and that it has everything to do with a person's integrity. Still, knowing all this, being thankful for everything is something I struggle to understand sometimes, especially after the past year.
Every year has its share of tragic events, but this past year seems to be so packed-full of tragedy that it's difficult to even think about. This year we've heard about the worst-ever wildfires in California. Horrific mass-shootings have caused the death of many innocent men, women, even children. Destructive hurricanes have destroyed many family homes and taken the lives of many good people. Furthermore, our nation seems to be more divided than at any time in history. It's all so sad.
All of these events make it really, really hard to be thankful - or does it? Under the weight of all this sadness, I try to understand why. Why has this year been so riddled with tragedy? The only thing I can do is give up and realize that it's not to be understood. I will choose to find something good. You see, as soon as I began to try to focus on finding something good in something terrible, my perspective began to shift. I feel a little better when I think about the sacrifices made by our first responders. How lucky are we that there are people in the world who will risk everything to save someone they've never even met? I am also thankful for neighbors helping neighbors in California and Florida. These people remind me that most people are good and love one another. When I get down and frustrated about our divided nation I will remember that the system designed by our founders, all those years ago, is still working and providing hope for many people around the world... who, like my mom and dad said, are having a worse day that me.
Market with a B.