Take time to be thankful

Published 10:52 am Saturday, May 26, 2012

I’ll admit that I don’t spend nearly enough time being grateful for how good I’ve really got it, and I suspect a fair number of you could say the same thing.

And to be perfectly honest, I don’t know why that is. Perhaps it’s human nature to worry and complain about things that aren’t all that important, rather than to reflect on how fortunate and blessed we really are. But regardless of the reason why, it seems that’s how an awful lot of us spend our time, and I’m as guilty as anyone.

I worry about my work and the pressures of my job, rather than simply being thankful that I’m gainfully employed. I complain about the various demands on my time that sometimes keep me from doing the things I think I’d rather be doing, rather than being grateful for the opportunity to be involved in so many wonderful organizations and activities.

I spend a lot of time worrying over finances when I should be reflecting on how fortunate I am to have a roof over my head and clothes on my back. It doesn’t make sense to spend all this time worrying and complaining, but I do it anyway. And I know a bunch of you do, too.

We have a lot of other things we worry and complain about as well. We complain about taxes and how the government spends our money. We complain about our schools and whether or not they’re doing a good job of educating our children.

We complain about our elected officials and whether or not they’re doing their job the way we think they should. And we do all of this complaining very loudly and publicly, for all the world to hear.

But what often gets lost in all of this complaining is that, regardless of whether it is a meaningful and productive use of our time, one of the greatest blessings we have in this country is the right to complain as much as we want, whenever we want and to whomever we want. It is a right that we should be ever mindful of and grateful for and it is a right that has come at a substantial cost: the lives of countless men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.

It is because of this sacrifice, their sacrifice, that we have the opportunity to live our lives in a way that makes us the envy of many around the world.

This Memorial Day, the day on which we honor the brave individuals who died so that we can live the life of our choosing, I’m going to make a conscious effort not to complain.

Rather, I’m going to make it a point to be grateful for the life that their sacrifice has afforded me the opportunity to live, and spend time being thankful for the rights that their sacrifice has provided us all. I hope each and every one of you takes the time to do the same.

TONY CLARK is the general manager and advertising director at The Tidewater News. He can be reached at tony.clark@tidewaternews.com.