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Perspective. It is a matter of where you are and what you are engaged in at any given time. I saw a meme on Facebook today. It was from a page called Inspiring Quotes. A woman was sitting with a cup of coffee. It read, “When asked if my cup is half full or half empty, my only response is that I’m thankful to have a cup.”

It brought a smile to my face. It is easy to forget how blessed we are. We get caught up in our circumstances at any given moment and it colors our whole world. It’s full or empty. It’s black or white. It’s bad or good. The truth is that life is more like a rollercoaster than a cup. It goes up and down and all around.

When I look back at past Thanksgivings, I can tell you that I have known a wide assortment of experiences. I’ll never forget the Thanksgiving that my car caught fire. I came home from college. I had a leak in my carburetor. I was hoping my father could fix it. It was too late. The engine went up in flames shortly after I arrived. 

Then there was that first Thanksgiving as a newlywed. We thought we’d never get home. We were living in Boston and got caught up in traffic on the Mass Pike. It took us twice as long as normal. The good news was that we got to celebrate two Thanksgivings. We celebrated with my family first and then went over to Lori’s.

I think one of my most memorable Thanksgiving celebrations happened in 2008. My mom had been battling cancer. We thought it might be her last one. So my brothers and I decided to surprise her. We all traveled to Kentucky and showed up on Tuesday morning. It was the first time we had all been together in 10 years. 

One never knows what a year will bring. Look at the Pilgrims. They suffered great losses during the hard winter of 1620. When the next harvest came, they looked at their cup and were thankful for what they had. History suggests that those who survived sat down together for a great banquet. They bowed to give thanks to God. 

Every year the circumstances surrounding our Thanksgiving celebrations change a bit. For some there are people missing from around the table. For others there have been new additions to the family. Life is constantly changing. The Scriptures suggest that this is normal. The grass withers and the flowers fade. One thing remains the same.

God and his Word never changes. He is the cup that overflows. That is why we can pause and give thanks. He is always with us, in the good times and bad. The Pilgrims understood that. Let’s follow their example. In the midst of what you are doing, take a moment and look up. Wherever you are, take the time to stop and praise God for the blessings, large and small. If you do this, you’ll soon find you have many reasons to give thanks.

The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.

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