26 Nov Gratitude for Relationships
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!
Growing up, my mom would cut a slit in an old brown packing box, wrap it in some kind of Thanksgiving themed paper, and label it the “Blessing Box”. Throughout the month of November, it was our job to write what we were thankful for on the small slips of paper she had laying next to the box. These papers would then be read around the table after we had enjoyed our Thanksgiving meal. I have so many fond memories of sitting with my family as we laughed and fought back tears thinking about the year that had gone before. It was such a special time for the five of us to connect, think, and just be together. Over the years, the Blessing Box faded as lives changed, schedules grew full, family members were added, and the ebb and flow of life simply pushed us forward…but the groundwork of thankfulness lived on.
I was recently reminiscing on those sweet moments with my family and it got me thinking: what would I write on those small slips of paper today? What would I put in my 2019 Blessing Box? I have no doubt there would still be some seemingly trivial thoughts (I really am thankful for chocolate and a good game of IU basketball), but I realized that as I have grown, so has my awareness of what really matters in this life. I can say with assurance that my entire foundation for gratitude can be summed up in one word: relationship. It all comes down to that, doesn’t it? Having all the money, power, and prestige in the world would never truly be a lasting happiness; it would come back void.
Believe it or not, working at Wheeler has not only expedited my understanding of this concept but has also allowed me the privilege of knowing men and women that are light-years ahead of me when it comes to loving well and building relationships. I’m afraid there might be an assumption out there in the community that Wheeler is a sad and lonely place, but oh, how I wish you could see the joy. The hope that exudes from our buildings has little to do with the material things that we need this side of Heaven and so much to do with the relationships being formed, reconciled, and made new. (Come see for yourself…for real.)
While society has us constantly thinking about what we have, don’t have, or should have, my challenge to each of us this Thanksgiving holiday is to stop, breathe, and reflect. What is the purpose of the hustle? What (or who) am I missing if I just keep my head down and work hard? My friends, life is short, and my prayer is that as we journey through this life together, we’ll learn a lesson from the most joyful people I know who seem to understand something about the purpose of this life…and it has nothing to do with things.
While I will always be thankful for the first snow fall and a good cup of coffee, I would love for you to join me as I work to prioritize people first – just like Jesus did for you and me.
Thankful for you,
Director of Women’s Philanthropy