It’s pretty remarkable that America has a national holiday called Thanksgiving Day where we count our blessings and remember people with thankful hearts. When it really comes right down to it, it shouldn’t take a national celebration to turn thankful.
When it comes to my writing life, it doesn’t take long for me to turn to my high school English teacher, David Smith. I don’t know what Mr. Smith recognized in my writing but he did see something—or maybe he dreamed that he spotted it. Whatever the case, Mr. Smith encouraged me to join the staff of the high school newspaper and do a bit of writing outside of school. I followed his suggestion and it took me on the path of journalism and my own writing career. About ten years ago, I decided to return to Mr. Smith, see if I could track down his address and write a sincere letter of gratitude. Unfortunately my effort was too late. I contacted someone in my old high school and learned that Mr. Smith had died a few years earlier. Then I asked about another English teacher but I learned that she had also died. Finally I asked about a speech teacher who was an influence on my writing. Almost every weekend throughout high school, I competed somewhere in the state in a speech meet—with this speech teacher guiding our team efforts. This speech coach had been in an accident but was still living. I managed to contact his wife and send a couple of my published books. I wrote this teacher and expressed my gratitude. A couple of years later, I learned that he also had died.
Time is passing for each of us and it’s a shame not to express thankfulness throughout the year. Don’t store it up for one single day but be forever grateful. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy 3:1–5, he writes a list of horrible sins during the last days of the earth. One word is tucked into this list—ungrateful. Ingratitude is rampant in our world. Instead I want to walk to the beat of a different drum—and try and express my gratitude to others. It should be every day—rather than a once a year occasion.