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I met a guy today who said he used to be “kind of a thug,” but he decided to change his life after he survived ground zero on 9/11, and then survived bout with cancer (and chemo) – perhaps caused by the dust at ground zero… He said he figured “God didn’t save me so I could be an a**hole…” Anyway, when I met him he didn’t know anything about me, so he wasn’t trying to sound spiritual for the pastor guy. Instead he was trying to say that he lived his life out of thankfulness… Anyway, my guess is a lot of people hear his story and think, “yeah if I were you I’d be thankful too!” But then it occurred to me. Shouldn’t those of us who didn’t nearly die, who never had to run from a collapsing building, or fight to stay alive and be healthy – don’t we have something to be thankful for too?
It turns out that thankfulness is a choice. At any point we can close our eyes to people and God, and things we get that we don’t deserve – we can close our eyes to them and ignore them – or we can embrace them and be thankful.
Why wouldn’t we always want to be thankful then? I think it’s because thankfulness is frightening. True thankfulness makes us want to do stuff. Change…stop being a**holes. It’s actually psychologically impossible to be thankful for your life and be an a**hole at the same time… But we don’t want to change or do stuff, so one way we do that is to avoid being thankful. But…if we really stopped to figure out the things we have to be thankful for, there’s no telling where that would lead us!