I live in a small town where the ocean meets the land, and every day I get to drive past that ever changing edge. I have a community of friends who are thoughtful and compassionate. I am the guide at a small church the congregation of which appreciates what I do for them. Despite the aches and pains typical of my age, I am in good health. I am in a nearly 40 year partnership with a truly amazing woman. These are things I do not take for granted and I am consciously thankful for them almost every day.
But there are plenty of things I do take for granted. I have food on my table and a warm place to sleep. I have enough money to live a more than comfortable material life. I can turn on my faucet and drink fresh, sweet water. I am not likely to have bombs rain down on me, or to have soldiers at my door. I can vote. It has been thus pretty much all my life—these things are as natural to me as my breath—so it is easy to forget how lucky I am to have such blessings—and many, many more as well.
It is when I remember such everyday things as these, however, that my gratitude really begins to kick in. This is when I remember to be grateful that I have a compassionate heart that I hope will inspire others to live a better life; to live with a deeper awareness of how their goodness can help others; to find new ways to make this a better world for all people; to commit to just a bit more universal justice; and to have the faith that even a small action can have a big impact on the lives of others.
Which says to me that we should not only be thankful for what we do or for what we have. Even more importantly we need to be grateful for who we are; for the gifts of our ability to love and to offer compassion, to offer forgiveness and to have the humility to understand our own shortcomings. More than anything material, it is these things that will make a better world.