Have you ever noticed that gratitude makes everything taste a little better?
Last week, as we gathered around the table with family and friends, surrounded by the smells of turkey and dressing and pecan pie, I was reminded of the powerful effect that perspective brings to a meal.
The thing is, I’ve never really liked turkey.
Nana’s homemade dressing? That’s another story. I gain five pounds just looking at it. And the pecan pie is a whole other story of its own! And I get really excited about the green bean casserole, too, and find myself wondering why it is that I wait a whole twelve months to eat it again.
The point is, Thanksgiving food is special, but not nearly as special as the people we share it with. Last Fall, due to family circumstances, we ate at a Cracker Barrel on I-20 in Arlington with cars screaming by at 75 mph.
It didn’t matter.
Because we were thankful.
Thankful for each other. Thankful for the meal. Thankful for the kind of life that affords us the opportunity to stop work for a whole day to do nothing but eat, visit, and watch a parade.
We could have had pancakes, or fried shrimp, or ham sandwiches, and the day would have been just as blessed because of the power of perspective.
And the thing is, that the perspective granted by a spirit of thanksgiving is one that can flavor our days far beyond that fourth Thursday of November, because every day is an opportunity to give thanks.
Last night, we had a budget meeting at our church that lasted nearly two hours. By the time I got home, half my family was in bed. The dog was nearly asleep. Most of the lights were off. I had been gone from home for over 12 hours and was exhausted.
And yet, I was joyful. What makes a two- hour long budget meeting a source of joy?
I was joyful not because I got to spend two hours looking at spreadsheets, but because of who I was looking at spreadsheets with. I am thankful for a church that believes in its mission. I am thankful for the 12 others in that room who had also worked long days before giving their evening to look over spreadsheets and charts and graphs. I am thankful for leaders who sacrifice and give of their time, talents and resources to make a dream a reality.
You don’t have to like turkey to feel blessed at Thanksgiving; you don’t have to like numbers to feel blessed at a budget meeting; and you don’t have to have the perfect day to feel happy when you get home. You just have to be grateful – it’s the miracle ingredient that elevates every meal and adds value to every experience.