Fasting From Ungratefulness

It’s the beginning of Thanksgiving Week, one of the most unusual time periods of the year. Unusual because we talk about how thankful we are, but tend to focus on the troubling details of life. For example, instead of the fact that most of us will sit down at a table that is covered with an abundance of food, the news feature we’ve seen has been about the high price of turkey.

In other words, our culture seems to be drawn toward the negativity of life instead of the gratefulness of what is. So I’ve decided to do a fast from ungratefulness. It will probably be a challenge. When I get those grumbling sounds in my tummy as I experience the road construction on Woodmen Road in Colorado Springs, my first reaction may very well lean toward the over-population of the city, or the inconvenience of the situation, or the fact that I didn’t plan ahead. I’ll have to look at myself in the mirror and tell me to knock it off.

So, when I flip the light switch and the bulb gives one last dying flicker, I’ll be thankful for the fact that it had provided light for me to read by for the past two to three years instead of focusing on the inopportune moment it had lived out its purpose.

When the cashier at the grocery store gives me a sneer when I ask for a price check on the one pound block of ground beef, I’ll say a flash prayer that the rest of her day will find her receiving compliments and a multitude of ‘Thank you’s’!

When the conspiracy theorists invade the TV screen, I’ll look for a “Captain Kangaroo” rerun and smile at Mr. Greenjeans.

When my stool at Starbucks is already occupied, I’ll focus on the other open seats that will give me new opportunities to view Pike’s Peak with my Pike Place from a different perspective.

And, instead of focusing on the fact that I’m paying $3.08 for my cup of coffee, I’ll be grateful for the fact that I get free refills.

When the eighth-grader comes strolling down the hallway, hoodie up and AirPods inserted, I’ll focus on his being in school instead of his strained appearances at looking cool.

When one of my classes is getting me annoyed, I’ll recall a time when I was sitting in Ms. Carisle’s U.S. History class and trying to hide behind Betsy Wolfe in our classroom that featured desks in militarily-precision rows and students sitting in alphabetical order. At that moment, maybe I’ll realize the students in front of me are simply mini-me’s fifty-five years removed.

When Carol says we are going to have pasta and broccoli for dinner, even though I’ve had a lunch of lifeless salad, I’ll focus on the nutritional value of the vegetable instead of my longing for a hamburger. And I’ll be grateful that she is willing to fix dinner for the two of us. The Arby’s down the street would be a lot easier.

When I feel the urge to complain about the cold temperatures that descended on us this week, I’ll be thankful that we aren’t in Buffalo. If I was in Buffalo, I guess I would be thankful for my shovel!

When a go out to my car and see bird droppings on the windshield, I’ll be thankful that there’s wiper fluid that I can use to squiggly it off with.

And when the 5th and 6th grade boys basketball team that I’m volunteer coaching for is getting blitzed 22-0 by a team that boys have to tryout for, I’ll focus on the positive. That they are learning the ineffectiveness of dribbling into two defenders and some of the other hard lessons of basketball life. But mostly, I’ll focus on the fact that it will be over soon.

Happy Gratitude Day!

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