My good friend, Joan Canning, dressed here in typical 1940’s fashion, spent last Saturday serving the World War II veterans at a huge outdoor gala in Swanton, OH. This event, called the Stage Door Canteen was a full day of special acts to acknowledge and honor the veterans’ service to our country.
Joan, like many of the volunteers, felt grateful to have the opportunity to demonstrate how appreciative she is for our military men and women. Saying “thank you” and feeling grateful for all their sacrifices (which are both numerous and costly) is always the right and appropriate response.
But sometimes “giving thanks” isn’t so “emotionally” cost-free. Reading from a brand new book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss titled, Choosing Gratitude, we’ll see that disciplining our hearts and minds to be thankful…no matter what… is wiser and “less costly” than the alternative of allowing bitterness and resentment…no matter what…to fester and steal away the best of our lives.
Nancy writes… “The capacity to respond to adversity with faith and gratitude is not limited to “superheroes.” There are countless people whose names and stories few have ever heard, who endure the worst that life has to offer and still come up thankful. Not unscarred, not unmoved, not functioning out of reality like robots, but still spotting reasons for hope and promise. They seem to know that the only thing more debilitating than what they’re going through would be going through it ungratefully.
No, the days don’t always get easier. The nights can still drag until utter exhaustion finally pulls a person under for a few hours’ sleep. But those who say, “No” to resentment and “Yes” to gratitude, even in the face of excruciating pain, incomprehensible loss, and ongoing adversity, are the ones who really survive. They stand against the tide of memories, threats, loss, and sadness, and answer back.