// What It Means to Be Thankful //
By: Taylor Haney


I recently got back from vacation in Indian Rocks Beach with my family. While on vacation, I experienced several moments of wonder and gratitude. One such moment was when I was wading in the ocean between a few islands adorned with mangrove trees while my wife gently rocked in our kayak a few feet away. I remember watching the sun glisten off the surface of the water, schooling fish jumping out of the water, and my lovely wife look up every so often from her kindle (smart phone) to take in the surroundings – a smile on her face. In these moments, it’s very easy to be thankful for what you have. The wonders of the world have a way of giving us an out of body experience; one that is almost as much observed as it is experienced.

Driving the 11 hours home – with 3 children in the back – reminded me of how blessed I really am. We made it both to and from Florida safely with no issues. The day after we returned home, we (I mean Megan) decided to put up the Christmas decorations. My part is simple – climb up and down a ladder and retrieve the boxes full of decorations. Megan does the hard work – decorating. I watched as the kids raced to mommy to get the next ornament to place on the tree – peace.

On Monday, I returned to work. I spent the whole day in fellowship with my team members – cooking, eating, and sharing stories. “Is this work?” I thought to myself. There was a time when my workplace wasn’t so enjoyable. With Thanksgiving tomorrow, it’s easy to get in the spirit of gratitude, especially if you are fortunate enough to be in a good season in your life. But more and more, I am realizing what it means to be thankful when you are going through a tough season – loss of family, loss of job, etc.….

Politics and religion aside, if you are reading this article, you should be thankful. You have access to the internet and are likely reading this on your phone. You might say to yourself, “It’s easy to be thankful when you were at the beach, or spending time with your family, or have an enjoyable work environment”. But, I should clarify why I consciously decide to try and remain in a state of thankfulness. My life is not perfect, far from it. It hasn’t always been easy. There have been times I have questioned everything. But the truth is, I am thankful for those times. They help me to appreciate the sweet times of peace and prosperity in my life.

To be thankful is to feel. If experiences in your life cause you to feel – good or bad – you should be thankful for a life that is not mundane. We live in a country of opportunity and freedom (this is not a political piece, so please, no emails lol). Use this Thanksgiving to launch yourself into a season of thankfulness and I hope that causes you to be more cognizant of all the opportunities and privileges you have around you. For those of you fortunate enough to have close family and friends, don’t let Thanksgiving be the only day you tell them how much you love and appreciate them.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friends!