22 Nov Give Thanks for Dirty Dishes
November 22, 2016
“Gratitude is the most pleasant of virtues and the most virtuous of pleasures.” (French philosopher Andre Comte Sponville)
As we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States this week, we invite all our friends throughout the world to join us in giving thanks – not only for the great blessings of faith, family, and freedom, but for the little things as well.
Gratitude strengthens families and turns what we have into enough. Its impact is significant and measurable. For example:
• Showing gratitude and appreciation for their partner improved newlyweds’ marital satisfaction and adjustment.
• Feeling and expressing gratitude significantly predicted marital happiness among long-term married couples.
• In fact, some researchers even assert that “Gratitude. . .is a form of love.”
• In addition, gratitude improves one’s feeling that life is manageable and meaningful, and is associated with higher satisfaction and lower materialism.
In other words, “It’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy.”
Even during difficult times, there is always something to be grateful for. If you are having trouble thinking of ideas, here are three suggestions:
1) I grew up in Santa Rosa, California, where the movie Pollyanna was filmed. I’ve always loved that sweet movie, and its message of finding the good in every situation. In the film, the Reverend Ford has a change of heart, forgoing his usual fire-and-brimstone sermon by saying, “It’s a lovely day outside. So Let’s go outside and enjoy this Sunday for a change. And while you’re out appreciating the sunlight, just give a little thought to who’s sending it down to you.”
2) Once as I was speaking to some elderly residents in an assisted-living facility, we were discussing things they could be grateful for. I held up some hand lotion and asked, “Doesn’t it feel good when someone rubs lotion on your hands?” Several grey heads nodded and smiled. Then I held up a toothbrush and toothpaste and asked, “Isn’t it nice when your teeth are brushed and clean?” Again, many smiled, but one little toothless woman raised her hand and called out with a lisp, “Teeth, teeth, just be thankful for teeth!”
3) Early in my marriage I was given a poem that I loved and saved: “Give thanks for dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell. While other folks go hungry, we’re eating very well. With home and health and happiness, we shouldn’t want to fuss. For by this stack of evidence, God’s been very good to us.”
So, give thanks for blessings great and small, including often overlooked blessings such as sunlight, teeth, and yes, even dirty dishes (which we will probably have a lot of this week). Just give thanks.
It is possible to be thankful in good times and bad. In the words of Charles Dickens, “Reflect on your present blessings, on which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
All of us at United Families International express our gratitude for your friendship and support, and wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!