Believe it or not, I’ve been publishing this weekly blog for nearly four years. In all that time, I don’t think I’ve ever repeated a post. As tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I wanted to do something special to acknowledge my multitude of blessings. Several years ago, I posted about my Thankful Thursday project. That piece is still one of my absolute favorite blog posts. I recently presented a devotional based on that piece at a church women’s meeting. Because that devotional seemed to strike such a melodious chord with my sisters in faith and because that piece is still one of my favorites of all my posts, I decided the post merited an encore performance this Thanksgiving week.
When I was working, I used to sponsor a weekly “Thankful Thursday” event in my office. Each Thursday, I would send an email to my entire staff, listing five things for which I was especially thankful that week and inviting everyone to come to my office for a cookie or donut or some kind of treat I brought to work. The price of admission was simply to share one thing for which the worker was thankful. I tried to be strategic in my five weekly “thankfuls,” using the opportunity to recognize employees’ exceptional efforts or to reinforce some key message to the staff. I also included some thankfuls that were “just for fun.” One day, one of my subordinate managers came to see me before “thankful time” and said, “You must be having a bad week.” When I asked him why he said that, he explained, “When you said you were thankful for the color pink, I figured you must be scraping the bottom of the barrel.”
The color pink notwithstanding, Thankful Thursday was a positive experience. Usually, about a third of the staff would show up. I think it was an opportunity to leverage positive energy and acknowledge what was truly important in life. Even if I am fooling myself believing it was helpful to my employees, it was rejuvenating and uplifting to me to have a dedicated time to revisit my blessings each week.
Now that I am retired, I think it is important to continue the tradition. I have gone too long without remembering the bounty of things for which I am thankful. Here goes….
- I am thankful for my retirement and the luxury of not having to do everything in the most efficient way humanly possible. When I was working, I craved sleep like crack addicts crave cocaine. Now, I rest and putter through my existence at a pace slow enough to live mindfully and fast enough to avoid stagnation. I am also thankful for my career. The years of labor that led to my retirement were filled with meaningful, interesting work. Although responsibility and leadership are stressful and exhausting, it is also incredibly rewarding. I had the opportunity to nurture strength, kindness, and integrity in myself and others.
- I am thankful for the financial stability and economic benefits I enjoy. I am thankful that I can meet my basic needs with abundant food and safe shelter. I am thankful that I have the resources to give to others. I am thankful for the plenty that allows for little extras for leisure and pleasure, like books and movie tickets, modest shopping sprees, vacations, and day trips to explore the interesting adventures of my new state.
- I am thankful for my country and the freedoms it provides. I am thankful for the men and women throughout our history whose courage, honor, imagination, intelligence, and decency created the rich, intricate fabric that we now know as the United States of America.
- I am thankful for the people I love and I am thankful that love has no boundaries. I am thankful for the people who live close by, filling my daily life with grace and love. I am thankful for those who live far from me but whose spirits are never far from my heart. I am thankful for those who have passed from this life. They live in my heart and continue to enrich my life each day. I am thankful for my readers, who fuel me to explore my mind and to create.
- Most of all, I am thankful for my good Lord from whom all these “thankfuls” generate. I am thankful that I am a child of God, who has saved me and blesses me constantly in strange and mysterious ways. I am thankful that He has chosen me to be His light unto the world. And I am thankful that, when I let that light fade, He patiently forgives me my weakness and rekindles my flame… again and again and again.
- Despite the challenges and stressors that exist even in retirement, there are blessings everywhere. An attitude of gratitude does wonders.
P.S. For the record, I’m still thankful for the color pink, too!
Thank all of you so much for reading and sharing. You have no idea how grateful I am for your interest and support.
Now it is your turn! Double extra bonus points for adding your thankfuls! Please share by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!