Gratitude in Troubled Times

Gratitude in Troubled Times

There are many troubles in our world today: an earthquake in Turkey, flooding in Libya, wars in Ukraine and Israel, Hamas senselessly killing numerous people, of which many are innocent children and elders, and in the most barbaric, cruel and inhumane ways that go back to ancient times, demonstrating their lack of respect and value for the life of others. In our beloved island home—wildfires in historic Lahaina and the lush forests of Kula have devastated both personal and business properties of long-time residents, also enjoyed by the millions of visitors from around the world, providing the means to our economic stability and a joyful lifestyle. Homelessness, abuse and neglect, depression, continued mass shootings, increasing incidents of human trafficking, pollution of our oceans and waterways, a variety of natural disasters occurring worldwide, all give us much to be concerned about as we look to the future.

Will the suffering ever end? Will we have peace on earth? Will we have the determination and courage to address climate change that many scientific experts believe are the cause of so many wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes which have destroyed communities? Are our elected leaders responsive to the suffering of the people they serve, or simply ignoring their urgent pleas for immediate help?

No one is exempt from suffering. No one is too good to avoid it. Simple answers or clichés will not suffice in easing the deep pain in our lives. We may not ever understand why we are suffering, but we can trust in God for His presence in all of our situations.

Despite the many challenges and heart aches we all face, there is so much to be grateful for. As we are all aware, November is known for Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let us all express our gratitude to our active military and veterans for their service and for protecting our freedom, keeping us safe, preserving our democratic values enshrined in our Constitution. What are you grateful for this season?

As for me, I am grateful first and foremost to our living God for His many blessings, grace and mercy. Also, I am grateful for my family and friends, for their unconditional love, encouragement and support.

There are many reasons why it is important to have the heart of gratitude—and here are a few (there may be more) that may help us understand the power of extending genuine gratitude:
• helps us build healthy relationships;
• helps us feel more positive emotions;
• invites us to relish good experiences;
• improves our health;
• gives us the capacity to deal with adversity;
• shows us that sharing our personal gratitude often brings joy to others;

Here are the key pillars of genuine gratitude:
• empathy;
• humility;
• integrity;
• sincerity;

When we exercise these characteristics of extending gratitude, it unlocks the fullness of life and will turn what we have into enough. There is a saying that gratitude can turn a “meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” It is so easy to forget what abundance we already have—and when we appreciate ourselves and each other, we also can acknowledge that what we have is enough, and are better able to lessen, to decrease the quest for more, more, and more. Let’s all be peacemakers, generous givers, encouragers, who shine our light in this dark world. And most of all, let us show genuine love to those people around us who may be facing challenges and heartaches during this Thanksgiving holiday and beyond. Blessings to ALL!