How much time do you spend each day reflecting on all you have to be grateful for?
For me, the answer to that question is “not nearly enough.”
I have long been a great believer in taking time every day to acknowledge, with gratitude, all that life has placed in my path.
And yesterday, Remembrance Day, reinforced the importance of “counting our lucky stars” every day for those of us fortunate enough to live in this, the best country in the world.
A few years ago, a brief walk from where Gimalle and I live, a memorial was erected in memory of the hundreds of Albertans who have sacrificed their lives in times of war.
Each year we walk over to this memorial to pay our respects to the many heroes who selflessly laid down their lives to preserve the remarkable freedoms we all too often take for granted.
Every name engraved on those memorial pillars reflects a life lived and lost. Every person memorialized said goodbye to parents, siblings, spouses, children and friends and went off to a faraway place to do their best to ensure those they left behind would continue to enjoy the rights, freedoms and quality of life that Canada offers to all its citizens.
And each one of them gave the most precious gift of all – their life – to serve this noble cause.
My limited vocabulary does not afford me the use of words adequate to describe the enormity of the debt of gratitude we owe to all who have proudly donned the Canadian military uniform in service of the country.
And we need extend that gratitude to the thousands who continue to do so today.
As we sat in silent reflection alongside the memorial, I could not help but think of the thousands of men and women in uniform today who have volunteered to face the same risks, and possibly suffer the same consequences, of all those named in stone on the memorial in front of us.
Shortly afterwards we wandered over to the local Safeway and I watched a young man explode in anger at a store clerk as she explained to him that they were temporarily out of stock of his favourite brand of peanut butter.
And I thought of the tens of thousands of innocent Syrians trapped in Mosul, terrorized by Isis fighters on one side while being bombarded by Russian and Syrian bombs on the other. And I couldn’t help but wonder how angry those same folks would be if they too discovered their local bombed out store was out of their favourite peanut butter.
I wondered if the angry young man had any idea how blessed he was to live in a country where a massive problem of this magnitude – peanut butter – could be the cause of such anger.
We have a duty to honour the memory of all who sacrificed their lives to give us the wide selection we have of peanut butter to choose from, and as we remember these true heroes, we need to take time to truly feel gratitude for so very much we all have.
I invite you to take five minutes each morning and select three things in your life for which you are truly and deeply grateful.
Spend those five minutes reflecting on those three things and ask yourself what life would be like without them or without their memory.
Doing this each morning will set the tone for how your day will unfold.
And on those days when things don’t quite go your way, take even more time to be grateful for all that living in this marvellous country has given you.
And remember all those whose names are cast into memorial stones.
Till we read again.