“For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult, and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general, and in particular, I have learned the secret of facing either poverty or plenty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the one who lives within me”.Philippians 4: 11-13
Whether you realize it or not, there is much to be thankful for. Even if all you can do is read this meandering message, you should be grateful that you are not among the 14% or one in seven Americans who are termed functionally illiterate. I call them mis-educated.
This errant essay may come as you contemplate when and if you will find gainful employment. Or you may be working on a job far below what your resume dictates you are capable of doing. But if you’re still looking, you count it a credit that you can salvage your sustenance with unemployment benefits that your Republican friends would rather see you live without.
So, you’re not a great orator and rhetorical giant like the late Reverend Martin Luther King or the keeper of Camelot, former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. However, it is better to know your limitations and live within the confines than to prove to the world that you are a bumbling, stumbling, grumbling idiot, like Injustice Clarence Thomas.
You may never care or crave to be a wannabee Gubernatorial candidate like that Georgia Goober, Herschel Walker. But at least you respect the rights of women. At least you have enough self-respect to be proud of who you are. You have character, class, and creativity, which is worth a lot more than proving that Negroes can still be rented. At least you don’t sound like you graduated from a Herschel Walker “Speedreading Seminar.”
Your house note ain’t paid, and you’re hiding your ride from the “Repo Man. “Your money is funny, your change is strange, and your credit won’t get it. But your children are now safe from predators, peddlers, and perverts! So, keep a close eye on your babies!
Thank God you aren’t looking for a civil attorney or watching your child struggle with bullying and identity issues. You’re broke, but you’re rich in a manner of thinking. My God, that’s a blessing and a reason to pray daily for children in your home and worldwide. Thank God for child advocates like Marian Wright Edelman, who set a standard.
It’s not always a pleasant privilege to be with family members who grates your nerves and try your patience on Thanksgiving Day and any other holidays that tradition suggests you spend with them. But think about those unfortunate souls who spend every day lonely and alone. Every family is dysfunctional to some degree. But the Isley Brothers said it best ; “You gotta love the one you’re with!”
Or maybe you’re mad at God, the world, the government, and yourself. But being mad requires a considerable amount of cognitive and cerebral activity. Thank the heavens that you haven’t lost your ever-loving mind. Surely, you’ve heard that a “mind is a terrible thing to waste.” So please don’t waste it being angry and argumentative.
None of us have all the answers. We all have good and bad days. It rains on the just and the unjust. But whenever it gets terrible, remember the New Testament sage, the Apostle Paul. Find a way to be content. You’ll be thankful you did!
You may never have heard of William Devaughn. He turns 75 this year, and you know his work without realizing who he is. Let me leave you with a sample.
“Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac. Gangsta whitewalls with TV antennas in the back. You may not have a car at all. But remember, brothers and sisters, you can still stand tall. Just be thankful for what you’ve got!”
If Paul’s words don’t help you, I pray that DeVaughn’s will. Be Thankful!
Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.