A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”
The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.” I wrote: “Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.”
Both signs told people that the boy was blind. The difference was that the first sign simply pointed to the boy’s blindness. Its message was focused on the sight that he lacked.
The second sign reminded people of blessings that were theirs but which perhaps they took for granted and failed to notice.
Thanksgiving means more than comparing our own situation to someone else’s and concluding, “Things could be worse.” It is looking at the world’s condition in light of our experience of plenty and deciding, “Things could be better.” Things could be better if others had the reason to be thankful that we have. And then responding out of that sense of gratitude with generosity aimed at giving others the same reasons for giving thanks that we already enjoy.
Wishing you a blessedly grateful Thanksgiving Day, and life.