My Thanksgiving List

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | Nov 05, 2013

“The man who has forgotten to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.”
David McCarthy

I often find that my pen has a better memory than my mind. There is something about sitting down and expressing my thoughts on paper that alters my whole outlook.

That is why I like writing in my journal. Unless I write it down, time has a way of dry cleaning the colors from my memory. Photography does that for me also. I love going through photographs from the past. They always tell as much about the photographer as the photographed.

If you read my journal you would learn as much about what I thought was important as what I chose to omit. If you looked at my pictures you would see life through the lens of my eyes as well as my camera.

And that brings me to my thanksgiving list. For some weeks “Thanksgiving” has been in my mind. It is November, after all. Each year I find myself looking back over the year and even over my life identifying large and small things for which to be thankful. Anyone’s list will reveal much about that person. 

I once heard about an atheist who revealed his confusion in a one-item thanksgiving list when he exclaimed, “I have finally gotten rid of the idea of God … and I thank God for it.”

Matthew Henry, a famous Biblical scholar, was once robbed and wrote this list of gratitude: “Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before; Second, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; Third, because although they took my all, it was not much; And fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”

During the month of November everyone should make a thanksgiving list. Yes, take some time (even an hour or more), find a solitary place, pick up a pen and paper and start writing. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Reflect on your legacy. Who are the people who influenced you the most? List the family members, teachers, coaches, neighbors, friends whose influence will never leave you. 
  2. Identify your life-changing experiences. We’ve all had them. Some good and some bad but all of them changed us. Who hasn’t said, “I wouldn’t give a million dollars to go through that again but I wouldn’t take a million dollars for what I learned through it.”
  3. Think about this past year. Take a look at your calendar for 2013. Notice the ebb and flow as well as the twists and turns in the road. Life is filled with huge variety which adds much spice to our lives.
  4. Remember the little things. The phone call that came at just the right time. The post card from a friend. The kind word. When our children were small we played a game inviting them to finish the sentence “I’m thankful for…” Their answers were often priceless. Little things but priceless.
  5. Focus on the source of our blessings. I am always inspired by the words of the Doxology, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow."
A Sunday School teacher asked her class what they were thankful for and a little boy replied, “My glasses.” He explained, “They keep the boys from fighting me and the girls from kissing me.”

So let’s just do it. Pick up a pen. Sit down at your computer. Reflect. Identify. Think. Remember. Focus. You make your list and I’ll make mine. Keep writing. How blessed we are.

Think about it.