Give Some Thanks

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When I woke this morning, the air tingled with the slightest hint of a fall breeze. It probably wouldn’t be obvious to anyone not from south Louisiana. But to me, that slight difference meant fall is coming. There will be more sweaty days, too. But fall is coming.

About this time of year, I start longing for a little sweater weather. I long for the days when there’s a chill in the house when you wake up in the morning. The hot, humid south Louisiana summers can leave you longing for anything under 80 degrees. Am I right?

Because what a summer it’s been. I feel as though I’m typing the same words I typed months ago: Riots. Anger. A country divided more than it’s ever been since the Civil War.

With the fall, people are putting out their fall decor. I see the word “thankful” in a lot of stores. It’s a cute throw pillow about this time of year. Can we all take a minute and make the word more than a decoration?

Are we thankful? Am I thankful? I’m sitting in a quiet house, typing as my house slowly wakes. The windows are dark, because the sun hasn’t risen in the sky yet. Children are still sleeping. It’s just my coffee and me.

Have I counted my blessings? Many days, the answer is no. There’s been no counting of any blessing. I wake up, pour coffee and get the day started. The busy day starts before a blessing has been counted.

The moments spent giving thanks transform an ordinary day into a day of appreciation. Because I am thankful. In spite of all the chaos of the past few months, I am thankful. Thankful for my family. Thankful to call this country my home. Thankful to live in Louisiana. Thankful for those who have gone before us and paved the way for freedoms that I take for granted.

I know I’m about a month too early writing about thankfulness. That’s November, Jaime. Save it for Thanksgiving. But a little thankfulness can transform a world, and maybe we need to start a little sooner than later. Maybe I need to start a little sooner than later.

It’s hard to be filled with rage when you stop to be thankful. It’s even harder to hate when you’re thankful to the people you’re tempted to turn your anger toward.

There’s a softening of hard places in all of our hearts when we show gratitude. And perhaps all our hearts could use a little softening. A little slowing down and showing thankfulness. Because that’s what gratitude does. It forces you to slow down and notice what someone else is doing that you appreciate.

A kid in my house was complaining about a teacher. Maybe you should be thankful for the teacher, I suggested. Why be thankful for a teacher that I don’t even like, kid asked. Well, because if she wasn’t your teacher, you might have one you liked even less.

The puzzled look on kid’s face said more than the words he said. He turned. I turned. The conversation ended.

But there’s some truth in the thankfulness. There are people we don’t like. Life never promised us that everyone we meet or have in our lives would be people we love. But we love this life, and stopping to be thankful even for difficult people and difficult things changes the way we look at something we previously couldn’t tolerate.

Is the unnamed kid thankful for the teacher? I’m not sure, but at least the thought has been planted that perhaps showing a little gratitude toward someone you don’t like could be our “new normal” that people keep talking about.

So we smile and say thanks to all people. Not just the easy ones. Not just the ones who make us smile.

Thank you to the people who share differing opinions. You’re showing me the other side that I might not have previously seen.

This month has us hurdling toward a divisive election. Two polarizing sides that seem to barely be able to tolerate one another. People with opinions who can’t seem to stand the other side.

So maybe, let’s all stop and give some thanks. And see if that changes some of the things we thought could never change.  POV