She lives in a tiny frame house with peeling paint, sparsely furnished, with little income besides a monthly Social Security check. Yet she blushes with self-consciousness and gratitude when neighbors insist that she spend Thanksgiving in their home.
Later, she expresses a heartfelt thank you for being included in someone else's family circle. It is an interesting paradox that often those who have the least are quickest to count themselves blessed.Unfortunately, many times the opposite is true. As a people who generally have been given much, often Americans don't appreciate how much is really theirs. Collective well-being may foster individual ingratitude.
Fortunately, this is a time of local and national prosperity, which should instill feelings of thanks and hope. Utah's economy is as strong and diversified as it ever has been. Economic factors nationally are up as well.
Certainly, there are some who go without. They should be remembered and nurtured by those with plenty. That may happen through worthwhile programs provided on a broader scale. But it best happens on a personal level, enriching both giver and receiver. Overtures of civility, compassion and kindness are fruits of a grateful heart and stimulate thankfulness in others.
Crime rates are down nationally, and democracy has expanded globally. There are no major wars being fought, though there are too many regional conflicts that reap heartache and hate. Gladly, most who read this will find themselves far removed from those circumstances, but it is easy to take for granted this relative peace and freedoms.
With all there is to savor, including minutia such as lower turkey prices this holiday season, there are many who point to a collective and increasing lack of thankfulness as a growing national epidemic. There are no gratitude indexes to quantify today's levels of appreciation against those of yesteryear, but many sense a trend toward grousing instead of giving, of selfishness instead of selflessness.
Those are tendencies unchanged by political programs or legislative fiat. They can be reversed only by slowing down to reflect on the goodness that encircles us, and by embracing others who are less fortunate.