It is Thanksgiving in the US, and many Americans will be putting their thoughts of thankfulness into words over a warm festive dinner.
This week we have spent about 18+ hours in airports and on planes, flying from Spain to Bangkok. It is our first time in Asia…and saying we’re excited is a bit of an understatement!
This year we’re spending our holiday eating traditional American Thanksgiving foods among new friends (other traveling families we know online) in the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
But Thanksgiving isn’t just about the meal, and it certainly isn’t about the Black Friday shopping day to follow. Why is that after celebrating “Thankfulness,” Americans embark on the the craziest shopping spree of the year, for things they don’t need? It is just so contradictory!
Happy to be away from that chaos, I think Thanksgiving should be more about stepping back to appreciate the blessings of the past year (and years prior), and to share our gratitude openly in words (without even a whisper of what new toy we’d like to buy!)
While growing up, my big brother taught me an important lesson about gratitude. He was 3 years older than me, and he therefore learned to drive long before I did. He helped my parents out by sometimes picking me up from after-school activities (which I had a lot of). He admittedly wasn’t thrilled with this arrangement (what teenage boy would be?), and he quickly taught me that at a minimum, each trip home in the car should be ended with a “thank you!” Not saying it to him was simply not an option! After all—even if he was asked/expected to pick me up (by my parents)—to not show him my appreciation made him feel used and unappreciated.
Sometimes I worry that I don’t share my gratitude for others enough! How can you ever TRULY express your gratitude to parents, friends, or loved ones? Some people try to show their gratitude with gifts—which works for them. But I’m not a big gift-giver (I fear that gifts for events or holidays are generally superficial), so I’m left to simply attempt to find words that share my heart. But even that challenge is seemingly impossible! I’m certainly not perfect, and if I don’t express gratitude in words enough, I hope that I can at least express it in my actions.
I feel gratitude each and every morning. I’m SO thankful for my parents, my siblings, my in-laws and extended relatives, my children, my husband, and for the daily influence of a loving Savior in my life.
I’m also thankful for the amazing opportunity that we have to travel as a family. I realize how rare of an opportunity this is (or at least that it’s rare to take/make the opportunity). I’m thankful that we are able to work a job that is location-independent, and that we have the time, finances, and flexibility to get out in the world and experience other cultures.
I feel that taking advantage of this opportunity to travel helps me outwardly express my gratitude for such great blessings!
To not jump on this opportunity would be akin to being blessed with an older brother who is willing to pick me up, but not expressing my “thanks” by actually accepting the ride home!
“Thank you very much!”
We’ll take the ride! – We’ll enjoy it! – We’ll appreciate it!
And most importantly, we will forever cherish the blessings that come from these experiences!