Practising Thankfulness

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”

Tecumseh


Two weeks ago I set a young guy I was working with a challenge. The challenge was simple. Every day for two weeks he had to write down one thing he was thankful for that day. I made up a basic little table on word and left it with him. Truth be told I forgot all about it. And assumed he would have too.


But he didn't. Yesterday he showed me his completed challenge. There weren't 14 things. In total I counted 97. Every box was filled to overflowing with more on the back and a separate sheet for good measure. I was genuinely amazed.


There was nothing revolutionary mentioned. Food, water, sight, smell, coffee etc. Each thing he was thankful for is something I have. And you have as well. Y'know all those 'simple' things that day in day out we take for granted. And we probably always will until they're removed from us.


I felt genuinely convicted by him for my own lack of thankfulness in life. The task that was supposed to 'help' him actually pricked me.


This blog is all about thankfulness. Pandemic or no pandemic. There are reasons to say thank - you.


Human Contact is a blessing.


I live alone. Some of you may be the same. 97% of the time I love it. I eat when I want. I play music as loudly as I want and I can prioritise the things that matter most to me. But about 3 % of the time you do just crave human interaction. Coming into work and seeing people or interacting with a shop worker becomes (though it always was) a blessing.


We take human contact for granted. We are too quick to highlight the flaws in people and resent interacting with them.


Yet allowing ourselves to be open to conversation can be an enriching experience. It’s become a kind of routine for me to dander down to the end of the pier each evening around sunset. I like it there. It’s still and it’s beautiful. Yet one evening earlier in the week there was an elderly gentleman doing exactly the same thing. He told me he’d been doing it for years.


We had the most wonderful conversation about his wife, (whom he’d lost ten years ago) some of my experiences and how we were both somewhat ‘enjoying’ life as it is now. It was wonderful. I came away feeling blessed by the simple power of human contact.


When institutions are stripped away it is the people that remain. I am thankful for people.

We took (take) so much for granted.


Yesterday morning I got a true insight into the crippling effects of COVID – 19 on the lives of everyday people. I was standing in the queue for Eurospar to complete my essential shop. Behind me were two ladies discussing the paralysis of the pandemic on their beauty routines. Below is their conversation – I haven’t even exaggerated :)

Lady one let’s call her Cindy says to Lady two (Trish)

“This hair is standing on me… it’s really depressing me.”

“Tell me about Cind” responds Trish “Haven’t had my brows done in months now and I’m growing a beard but I’m afraid to touch it myself.”

“Aw babe, you’d hardly notice it.”

“Thanks hun, it’s just getting to me y’know”

“Yeah this virus needs to just f*c* itself.”

I mean as serious as people losing their livelihoods, their health and in some instances their lives Cindy and Trish’s problems are right up there. I know I definitely took getting my brows done for granted. But never again dammit! Never again.


Joking aside though let’s be honest. Every single one of us in the past six weeks has had a “flip I took that for granted” conversation with ourselves. It may have been a person, a place or activity that you took for granted. But let’s hope this has been a wakeup call for all of us to practise thankfulness daily.

The list of things we ‘need’ is much smaller than we all thought.


With that practising thankfulness in mind, I’d like to briefly consider “need.”


Each of our lives are made up of systems, people, places and things. There are things that each of us believe we need to survive, thrive and be happy. It may be a job, relationship, a faith, a gym routine, going out on a Saturday night or Dairy Milk chocolate.


We fear these things being eroded because we deem them essential for our happiness. We cling to them like a life raft because we think we will crumble without them. Yet you won’t crumble. Because inside yourself you already have all you need to survive. Combine that with water and food and what more could you need?