A Word to the Wise: Enjoy simple pleasures simply at Thanksgiving

By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
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Some days I have a difficult time trying to come up with the words for this weekly column, even though I keep a list of possible topics nearby. Every once in a while the old nemesis known as “writer’s block” sets in and I end up staring at a blank screen for a long time. However, there is at least one time of year during which the words seem to flow easily and that is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Surely in spite of anything that might be going wrong in the world or in your life, you could find a way to be thankful. The day itself comes with whatever personal cultural trappings you choose to include. That means the food, the football, the family, the shopping and so on. Everybody has their own expectations as to what makes a good Thanksgiving Day. On the other hand, it may alleviate a lot of stress if you limit your expectations to only a certain few. The more expectations you have, the greater chance that you will experience frustration or disappointment. The ability to enjoy simple pleasures simply is a desirable virtue. Our lives all too often become so complicated with modern amenities. Pleasures become necessities. Wants become needs. This brings me to the larger vantage point of “thanksgiving” as a continual attitude and not merely a day of the year. I love leftover turkey. It’s the sandwiches you have throughout the ensuing weekend that is the point of cooking such a big bird, right? But even the leftovers are soon gone. For all too many of us the thankful attitude lasts about as long as the leftovers. A powerful antidote to the modern cultural disease of an entitlement mentality is a grateful heart. God has been good to us — as individuals, families, and as a nation. It would be the height of ingratitude not to say “thank you.” I would encourage you to cultivate a thankful heart. For me a continual soaking in the Psalms of the Bible helps me to get my perspective correct. Psalms such as 34, 37, 100, 136, 145 or 150 all tune my heart to sing God’s praise. And there are many more where they came from. “Help me God to see my blessings and not my denials. Help me to appreciate what I do enjoy and not bemoan what I do not have. Thank you for it all.” Tom Rupp can be reached at