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A Thankful Heart
Photo: Jeff Osborn
“Ok, it’s time for prayer requests.”

This is how I begin Friday Bible class when I sub at our Christian High School. It’s a Friday tradition that students look forward to. The requests have been both earnest and interesting through the years: “That it will snow so I can go skiing!” “My Dad gets his medical test results back Monday, and it doesn’t look good.” “I want to become stronger,” said one boy. “I want muscles.” “My puppy ran away. He’s too young to find his way home.” “I hope I get asked to the banquet.” “I don’t want to catch a cold.” “Since my parent’s divorce, my relationship with my Dad hasn’t been good….”

One recent Friday a boy in the back row raised his hand and said, “I’m thankful for the sunshine.”

“Whoa!” I said to the class. “Did you hear what he just said? He’s thankful for something! Shouldn’t we spend equal time saying what we’re thankful for? We’re good at telling God what we need, but often forget to say thanks.”

Looking for Things for Which to be Thankful

The next day, I decided to spend time deliberately looking for things to be thankful for. It’s amazing what things you see, simple as they may be, when you really look for them.

At a department store I saw a woman with oxygen tubes in her nose. I was thankful for healthy lungs that take me on long hikes. I also noticed an elderly couple. The husband was walking several steps in front of his wife who was riding an electric scooter. I was thankful for legs that work so I can walk next to my husband.

Moments later, I heard a Mom yelling at her child, and was thankful for loving parents. At the grocery store I saw a woman whose ankles were so swollen that her feet looked crammed into her shoes. I wondered what condition would cause such swelling, and was thankful for feet that slip right into my shoes.

When my thirteen-year-old daughter hopped in the car after school and said her favorite line, “Hi Mom, where are we going?” I was thankful for family, and for ears to hear the voices of those I love.

Driving by a funeral home, I was thankful we were both in the car and not in there.

The list from that day could go on….

Maybe at times it’s easier to see all that’s wrong with life, and what you’re “unthankful” for--a poor grade in Biology, problems with parents, not being asked to the banquet, being left out by someone you thought was a friend, going through a tough breakup, getting a new pimple or having a bad hair day.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner why not try what I tried? Take a day to deliberately look for things you’re thankful for. I bet you’ll find both little and big things. The size doesn’t matter. They’re all gifts. And once you do find them, don’t forget to say “thanks” to the Giver.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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