This is my favorite time of the year. It’s a busy time when I’m meeting with a lot of people to ask them to invest, and also a time to slow down and be thankful for what I have. As I took some personal inventory, a few things struck me about gratitude and the typical way I approach it.
For years, I lived my life thinking that satisfaction would come “when.” It will come when I finish college… It will come when I land that huge job… It will come when I close that big deal.
You might do this too. Maybe you thought it would happen when your child was out of diapers or when they got to kindergarten or when they finally graduated. Then you’d find that elusive peace and contentment. But, I’ve learned that’s just not how it happens. That peace and contentment are already here. The secret to this peace is to be grateful RIGHT NOW.
We’re so fortunate and sometimes I forget that. There’s a really powerful video circulating on Facebook that does a great job of illustrating that fact. In it, the speaker lines up a diverse group of high schoolers, telling them they’re all going to have a foot race for $100. But before they begin, he gives direction with statements such as: Take two steps forward if your parents are still married. Take two more steps if you grew up with a father figure. Take two more steps if you never had to worry about your cell phone being shut off for late payment. From the beginning, it wasn’t going to be a fair race since some kids had such a head start.
I’d encourage you to watch it for yourself. It’s the perfect visual metaphor for privilege and just goes to show that everything in the world is designed for us to win. The way to have everything is to know that, in essence, we already do. If you came from a loving family, you are already way ahead. If you’re reading this, you probably know that we’re some of the lucky ones.
This, of course, got me thinking a little about the flip side of that equation: The children. They understand gratitude in a way that is just too powerful to describe. I remember being at an orphanage a couple of years ago. It was Sadia’s birthday. As part of the celebration in the orphanage, they sang “Happy Birthday” and presented her with a platter. On the platter was an apple. She picked it up and held it to her heart. She was so grateful for the gift of a simple apple. Then, she asked for a knife and proceeded to cut it up and pass pieces of her special gift out to her friends. She felt her plate was so full that she simply had to share her blessing. Amazing.
We all have apples in our lives. Are we taking time to be grateful for them? Sadia certainly did. Chances are, we have several apples in our lives that we don’t even think to be grateful for. It’s a vivid reminder that small things are so huge when we take the time to recognize them. The children you support can’t afford to take anything lightly.
In the same way, we don’t miss the donations we give, but they make all the difference for the children. What kids are thankful for might seem small, but donors like you help turn those small donations into big miracles.
When orphans don’t have food security to know they’re going to eat every day, and then they start getting what they need—when they get to enough—everything changes for them. It’s on that platform of enough that all of their ambition forms. Hope crystallizes. In America, we’re born so high over the platform, we never stop to think how grateful we are. We’re born with wings. But they’ve had the benefit of not having enough to truly appreciate—and they can still soar.