« WSAU Opinion Blog

OPINION - Giving thanks in difficult times

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU)  Thankfulness is more a state of mind than an event that happens once a year.

Perhaps you know someone in your life who seems to be better off than you: better job, bigger paycheck, large house, fancy car… yet they don’t seem happy. You think you wouldn’t be so sour if you were in their shoes. Maybe, but it’s impossible to know for sure.

You also know someone who has less than you, yet seems to be sunny and content.

Thankfulness isn’t about what you have, it’s how you respond to it. It really is a matter of how you look at things.

Maybe there’s someone at work who’s a difficult co-worker. I know it’s hard, but be thankful that they’ve shown you how you don’t want to be.

Maybe you see a neighbor with more material wealth than you do. Be thankful if you’ve learned that “stuff” isn’t the path to happiness.

Many people who read this blog are bitterly unhappy with the politics of our country. I know how I’d feel if a government policy change caused me to lose my health insurance, or pay a steep premium increase. Be thankful that, although difficult, it can be changed. The failings of current policies are opportunities to show how other ideas might be better.

And I know there are many people who are still struggling in today’s under-performing economy. It’s particularly hard to be thankful if a part-time job or a pile of past-due bills are your circumstance. You probably don’t need advice from me on giving thanks. But I’d tell you that the way things are today isn’t necessarily the way things will be in the future. Be thankful that things can and will get better, and those good things will be even sweeter when they arrive.

I wish times were easier for many of the people I know, and I wish we didn’t have to look as hard for the things we’ll give thanks for this year. Even in bad times we are surrounded by more blessings than we realize. I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

Chris Conley