Thoughts About and Example of Gratitude

Sitting outside during hunting season, taking in nature, gives me lots of opportunities to just sit and ponder all sorts of things. At o-dark thirty this morning in the 30-degree weather, on this last day of fall rifle season for deer, I did some serious pondering. Most of my thoughts were trying to figure out what I had done wrong, could do better and should do next year to give me better results in my hunting ventures. My thoughts started with a bit of envy/jealousy towards all the folks who’d harvested deer. My Facebook feed has been full of pictures of their great successes. Then my feelings went to anger. I was angry about the time I’ve put in sitting outdoors, stalking, scouting, etc. I started stewing about not having killed a deer in 3 years. Not to mention that I’ve never shot a “big” buck. Then my thoughts went back to the folks who’ve busted big bucks. Thinking to myself, “Just about all those people have a land lease or pay to kill those deer. Not many are actually sitting out there for days like I have been. They probably don’t even know what to look for. They’re amateurs. Not “real” hunters. They pay, show up, kill, go home.” Then I shake that off and tell myself, “Self, let me know when you’re done with your pity party so we can get on with things.” Touché.

My son-in-law is a hunting guide and has been for many years. When he goes hunting, he knocks down bigguns. When he goes fishing, he catches all of them. When he and my daughter were dating, he was telling me what he does as we got to know each. I asked him, “What’s the longest shot anyone has ever taken to kill a deer at the place you guide”? He said, “Oh, about 627 yards”. “Wow”!! I said. “I’d like to meet that guy.” He looked at me and said, “You just did.” I decided then and there that he was worthy to marry my daughter. He’s mentioned me going to the place where he guides but I told him that I won’t pay to kill a deer.

So, this morning I was thinking about something my daughter said to me a couple weeks ago. She and my son-in-law went up to their land lease in northern Missouri to hunt. On the first day he killed a deer. I think it was his first time to shoot one with a crossbow. He’s a bowhunter. Anyway, a few days later I asked my daughter if he got one. She said he had but didn’t post any pics or want to tell many people cause it was a small buck. “Oh,” I thought. As I was thinking about that conversation this morning, Gratitude came to mind. I’m using him and his experience as the example and I’ll probably remind him of this, being the wonderful father-in-law that I am. Figured I’d tell him, “You know, besides your guiding time, I’ve probably put in more time than you this year and I haven’t shot anything. So, be grateful that you saw a deer to shoot. Be grateful that you were able to take the shot. Be grateful that you hit it and be grateful that you found it.”

Our modernized society we live in here in America is tainted so bad. Even European countries and so many others. I got home from Ecuador last week. I spent a week in the Pastaza River region of the Amazon Jungle. The indigenous Shuar Indians who live there have nearly nothing. But they are grateful for what they do have. In our world, in the U.S., we complain about cel phone coverage, cold food being served, bad traffic, lines to wait in, slow internet, the clothes we have, our spouses, our kids, our job, etc., etc., etc. See where I’m going? We have so much that MANY of us have become spoiled, ungrateful and complacent people.

A family’s toilet. Great view!! Silver lining.
Shuar family home. Saw them every morning as I would take my morning walk. They did have electricity.

My challenge to you. Take a pause each and every morning to think about what you do have. Give thanks for those things. You may live in a house that’s small, old, and falling apart. Your car may be old and ugly. Your clothes may be outdated. None of that matters because at least you have those things. Be grateful for opportunities to thrive in our society; whether you choose to take those opportunities or not. We have so much to be thankful for and things could always be worse. Lost a loved one? Be grateful for those you still have and be grateful for the person who passed and the impact they’ve made on you and those you love. Give thanks this year. Take a moment to stop and really think about it. Write those things down and share them with others. We are a very blessed nation. Lets not forget that. Happy Thanksgiving to you and may God bless you all.

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