My son is thankful for paper towels.
A few friends and family members are over for a small Thanksgiving dinner. As we gather around the table, we ask the question,
What are you thankful for?
People share and we arrive at my three-year old son for his turn. He speaks,
I’m thankful for mommy, daddy, Fefe (his sister), and for paper towels.
Well, okay then.
It’s funny and unexpected. People smile and laugh at the adorable honesty of my son. He loves his family and is thankful for paper towels. We finish sharing and enjoy our meal.
As we clean up the dishes I think more about my son’s statement and laugh, again, to myself. There is a lot of wisdom in that statement.
The Blessing in the Big (and Little)
I often find myself thankful for the really big things – the unexpected opportunity, the once-in-a-lifetime trip, the extra income that helped me get ahead on some bills. I find myself thankful for the obvious things – my family, my friends, the opportunity for meaningful work. And those are all things we should be grateful for, but life isn’t just about the big moments.
If you think about your own life, those big moments are really only a handful. If you think about the obvious things you are thankful for, most of the reasons why you are thankful for them don’t revolve around big moments. They revolve around the little ones. The mundane, ordinary, and every day blessings.
Those are things that are easy to forget. We miss the paper towels.
Gratitude is something we practice. We get better at it the more we do it. We start to notice the little blessings and moments for thanksgiving the more we recognize them. It is a really blessed cycle, but it takes energy to get it moving. For my son, the entire world is this amazing, new, and incredible place. Paper towels are a gift. To me they are just an expense.
I wonder how many other things I miss?
Right Here. Right Now.
A lot of people end up seeking the next big moment, opportunity, or experience for which they can be grateful. They miss all the small blessings because they are looking for the big thing. Then they wind up unhappy and sad. Gratitude dies in their heart because they never practice it. When the big moments come, they don’t even know how to be happy for it.
I can get like that. I can let gratitude die in my heart. I can miss all the little things. And then I don’t appreciate the big things, because most of the big things are made up of little things.
Laughter and tears.
I don’t want to miss those things. I’m a better person when I remember them, acknowledge them, recognize them, and give thanks for them.
My son is thankful for paper towels. So am I.
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash