"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~ John F. Kennedy
Actions really DO speak louder than our words. Yet even those who are devoted and committed to living a life of integrity frequently "miss the mark." That's because we are not perfect, and as regular human beings, we will continue to make mistakes, stumble and fall, and take a tumble along life's journey. So, in thinking about the quote for today, I am reminded that, although we may not ever get it all down just exactly right, we still need to do our best every day to see that our actions match up pretty closely with our words. It is really easy in some communities to use our religion as a "mask" for the deep, dark, hidden places in our souls. That never works out well, for anyone, including the person who is hiding behind those "perfect" words.
As we approach this season of Thanksgiving, we are all reminded of the blessings we experience in our every-day lives. Some years we feel that we have more to be thankful for than in other years, but when we think about it honestly, we all have much for which to be grateful. But then, how often do we turn right around and live as if we are paupers? Sure, many of us are struggling with the day-to-day necessities of life, finding it difficult to pay all of the bills and still be able to buy groceries. And that is not easy. How can we continually act grateful when we can't find money to put gas in the car, or for the kids' school lunches, or to buy baby formula? I'm not sure I know the answer . . . . but this one thing I DO know: getting angry, sad, frustrated, or resentful won't change a thing!
Well, except it will just make you miserable ;o) There have been many times in my life, and I'm sure in your life as well, when it seemed impossible to figure out how to get from "here" to "there." No matter which way we looked, there was no way "out." So . . . . . we have a couple of choices at that point. We can allow our natural anger and frustration to continue to move us in the direction of bitterness, or we can recognize that holding on to all of that anxiety will only make the situation worse, and make us feel completely miserable. Then we get the opportunity to sort out the yucky stuff from the blessings, and move forward to discover a solution, or a possible alternative, or even a place of peace in the midst of the uncertainty and sadness. Is it easy? Of course not, but then we know that life is NOT going to be easy, so let's get on with it!
As we face every day, we can put on the "mask" of propriety, saying all the right words and pretending to be whatever it is that we think we are expected to be . . . . but at the end of our day, at the end of our life, the real question will be whether or not we truly lived a life of gratitude, honor, and integrity. And it will no longer matter what "everyone else" thinks, or that you were able to convince "everyone else" that you were something that you were not. It will only matter that you gave your complete devotion to honoring God with your actions, not just your words, even if you mess up once in a while. And living a life of trust and joy, even in the midst of darkness and confusion is one way for our actions to reflect our words.
Today, many of us are not feeling that this is the best Thanksgiving we have ever had . . . . . but how about we choose to act on what we know, being grateful for our blessings, and open our hearts and minds to the gifts that God has prepared for us this holiday season. Who knows, we might just discover that He has provided a way for us to move beyond the difficulties of today, and lead us to a brighter tomorrow. Have a blessed Thanksgiving, and I pray that you will always remember all that He has for you, no matter what!
Please visit Tami at "The Next Step"to find all of the other IOW participants this week, and then take a minute to visit them on this beautiful Tuesday!