365 days in a year- that’s 8,760 hours. Within those hours are 525,600 minutes of sights, smells, actions, information, people, items, tastes, and activities that fill our life. It’s nearly impossible to account for how we spend the majority of those 31 million seconds; but this week we set aside this coming Thursday to intentionally remember and reflect on the past year. For some folks it’s a celebration of a year of good health, new experiences and strengthened relationships. For others it’s a day clouded with loss, pain, hurt or strife.
Each year I feel a tension as it becomes my turn at the table to share what I am thankful for. When you work at a non-profit and face images every day of impoverished children it’s really hard to not express your thankfulness for the abundance that we have. So, inevitably, the mood gets a little somber as I share my gratitude for the water we are drinking that flowed so easily and abundantly through our faucets. For the bounty in front of us as others struggle to provide the one meal their family will eat that day. There is no motive of guilt in it, just an awareness of the reality of my situation and the many things right in front of me that I overlook or take for granted. As I prepare for my turn at the table this year I can’t help but think of all the things that my last 8,760 hours have been comprised of. The familiar, often overlooked resources, things or people that deserve a shout out at the table.
I asked our team to see what ordinary things in life they are thankful for. Here are their responses:
Hilary – I’ve recently realized how thankful I am for water pressure. My husband and I live in an apartment built in the early 1900s, and though we love the old style building, it definitely comes with some…“quirks”. One of which is old water pipes. Every so often, we’ll have a week of very weak water pressure – which makes showers & doing dishes quite cumbersome. However, when the pressure finally kicks back in after a few days, we can’t help but do a celebratory water dance.
Katie – After nearly a year of having a puppy, I am thankful for walking the dog- in the rain or shine. I am thankful for the daily occurrence of toothbrushes and shoe laces.
David – I am thankful for the gift of music. The ability to sit in my cube, stick on my headphones and tune out the world around me. To concentrate on the work I need to get done while listening to some great tunes.
Dan – I am thankful for coffee and Kashi. My car starting, a smile and greeting from Joan and Dylan (our front desk folks at WV), walking up stairs, a light in my office that works, hearing “good morning” from a friend, having a meaningful job, having time to read an email from your dad, listening to a heart-warming story/podcast, saying thank you and meaning it…oh and beets (mundane but awesome).
And myself– I am thankful for Google maps. I travel a lot and would spend half my life lost if it weren’t for that (mostly) trusty little app. I’m thankful for telephones and text messages which give me the ability to keep in touch with friends and family across the distance, the sound of laughter and space heaters!
This year as you think upon the big things in life you are thankful for, don’t forget those ordinary, commonplace things too. Shake up the table vibe a little as you thrown in your gratitude for latrines, car brakes or sunscreen.
Happy Thanksgiving Famine family. We are so thankful for your partnership this last year and all those previous as we fight to bring some of those every day needs to children around the world.