About 15 years ago when I worked in hotel management, I learned a valuable lesson about thankfulness. It started when my co-worker came into my office filled with excitement. He wore a big smile as he told me that he’d gotten a new car. He was obviously proud of his accomplishment, and he insisted that I quickly go to check it out.
His overwhelming excitement was contagious. So, I left my task and followed him outside. With each step, my excitement grew in anticipation of seeing his new ride. Although he hadn’t mentioned it, in my mind, I was about to see a shiny new vehicle complete with the new car smell.
When we reached outside, I quickly scanned the parking lot for a new car. I didn’t notice any new cars. In fact, all I saw was an old car —a very old car. That’s when he opened the driver’s side door to a dented, red compact hooptie. I smiled hoping not to let on to my utter disappointment.
He eagerly pointed out the interior and features. I continued to smile and nod while thinking to myself, “Why is he proud of this?”
It wasn’t until years later that I realized my co-worker understood something that I did not. He understood how to be thankful for blessings that many (including myself) would have been ashamed of.
It didn’t matter to him that his new car was dented and dated. He saw it as a blessing. He didn’t focus on the negatives but rather choose to be grateful for what he had… which was what he could afford at the time.
Now for some of us, it might not be an old vehicle that it’s time to be thankful for. Instead, it might be a current job, living arrangement or a family member that is a source of shame but truly is blessing to be thankful for. Over the years, I’ve had to overcome pride and be grateful for each of these.
Nowadays, whenever I think about the situation with my co-worker, I am challenged to check my heart to make sure I’m thankful for all of my blessings and not just my favorites. I once read a quote that sums this up nicely. It wisely states, “Someone is praying for the things you take for granted.”