I Am Truly Thankful …

There are absolutely no doubts of any kind when seeing and acknowledging the depth of devastation all around – when nature is angry – it unleashes its wrath in ways unthinkable. It is not a time to blame “God”, for oftentimes they are not ‘acts of God” but rather, I dare say, the ‘miscalculations’ of us human beings, trying to manipulate nature.

As I sat on a log, high above the receding waterline of the recent floods, there are many things that grapple my mind, and with it, the lessons we can glean from such experiences…. The stench in places becomes unbearable – but then we should be thankful that we are alive and have a sense of smell. Despite the devastation and within just a few days of the retreating waters, we can notice new life spring up, poking its tender head above the debris. Nature is ready to start all over again.

We should learn to Rejoice – oh yes…….. be grateful that we have the ability to grow in spite of ‘everything’.

I can see rodents stealthily move around devouring the “food for them”, and snakes slithering in the murky waters, ants do what they best do…. clearing up the mess one particle at a time…… oh yes….. they are helping Nature…. Can we dare complain?? We ought to be grateful……….and Rejoice that Nature is slowly healing itself.

I am thankful to see ‘beauty’ amidst destruction, and despite the misery and anguish, I hear jokes and even laughter that lightens the scenes of destruction, taking time of relief to celebrate God’s provision. Looking all around I can observe how the ‘disaster” has produced hope in times of despair, smiles in the midst of the rubble and a determined spirit to survive despite the odds, and energy exhumed.

They are also trying to provide and care for their own families and families of others, regardless of cast or religion.

One can also see many survivors spending their days standing in line to charge cell phones so that they can call family – renew connections with loved ones. Their days are also spent in mile-long lines for relief kits. Their days are spent picking through the rubble, trying to patch together their homes. Their days are spent catching rainwater to drink and bathe in. Their nights are spent in the warmth of a bonfire made from wood salvaged from what was once their home. Many must wait for months for electricity and roads to be restored so that the much-needed food and medical assistance can come in Their days are also spent caring for others, making sure their community members and outreach centers are receiving aid. They are also trying to provide and care for their own families and families of others, regardless of cast or religion. They are encouraging each other by restoring their own lives as well as those of their community.

In many strange ways, people are somehow beginning to understand the meaning of thankfulness. They are thankful for life – no matter how hard it may be right now. I overheard someone say, “I am thankful that no one in my family has died.” They are alive and thankful. Surviving and starting over is hard work, but then this is exactly what they are doing. Complaining has almost come to a stop. Rebuilding  TOGETHER is giving them hope and a purpose to see positive things in disastrous circumstances.

Where there is struggle, there is a silver lining, and through tough times, negative experiences, and lessons learned the hard way, appreciation for life is there to pull us up. When it feels like we’re drowning in the negative, it’s hard to find the way out, but for all we have in life, gratitude should remain constant as a guiding light.

I’m thankful for the many men and women who have shown me the meaning of grace under fire. They’ve shown Peace amidst the storm.

I am thankful for the energy they exude and the willingness to start all over again from the “leftovers”, when all I want to do in their situation, is collapse in exhaustion. I’m here for just a few months. They have been here for years. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight.

I can hear the words of comfort ring in my head – “You make beautiful things out of the dust,” from the song  “Beautiful Things” by the Christian music group Gungor. How true, IF only we have an Attitude of Gratitude.

Gratitude is the fastest and easiest way to joy. An attitude of gratitude immediately puts out a positive vibration into the universe.

When you put that positive energy out there, positive energy comes back to you. If you are feeling down or depressed, try focusing on something that you are grateful for and see what happens. Like a bee spreading pollen from flower to flower, soon there will be a field of gratitude flowers growing around you. Like any habit, recognizing gratitude takes some time.”

I am thankful God will create new things, beautiful things, out of the dust and in the aftermath of the devastation. I’m thankful that though I can’t quite see the end result, I know that beautiful things are happening and greater things are going to happen, and I’m already seeing glimpses of that beauty amidst the ruins.

We each have stories of God’s help and God’s care, times when we were in trouble and somehow things came out all right; times when we received help when we needed it most – from people who cared. This is a good time to remember those stories, to remind each other that the Lord is good; God’s love endures forever. When we know that God is for us, it is possible to live in faith instead of in fear, even in the face of death. And when we know that God is for us, we can have an attitude of trust—an attitude that sees God’s hand at work in our lives and in the lives of those we love.

“So much has been given to me; I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied.”

–Helen Keller

“As long as this exists, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”

–Anne Frank

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing”.

–Seneca

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”.

–Albert Einstein

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

–Buddha

Let each of us give thanks for the little we already have and we will find and realize that we actually have a lot.

Stay Blessed.

Jonathan Solomon
Jonathan Solomon
JONATHAN is a Finnish citizen of Indian origin and in the early 70’s was one of the very few “foreigners” to be granted a full construction license in Finland. Concentrating solely on the upper market and by identifying very talented architects he not only built exclusive homes in one of Europe’s most difficult countries, but also designed and crafted unique bespoke furniture specifically suited for these homes. He has been involved in various projects in over 20 countries. He is the Executive Trustee of an American Foundation involved in humanitarian projects. He brings his international experience and cultural understanding to create new exciting design solutions to satisfy even the most discerning Client. His clients include celebrities, VIP from the various segments of society and from the hospitality industry. He has managed an international interior design studio responsible for both residential and corporate projects and implemented numerous furniture procurement contracts.

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  1. Living with an attitude of gratitude can really make a difference.
    We can be grateful for the things that are taken for granted, those that, with the daily grind, we never stop to think that we are literally surrounded by blessings of every kind and degree. We often understand the real importance of a thing when we lose it but not as often we are grateful for that thing.
    Just as it is right to show gratitude to those who listened to our outburst, those who supported and endured us, those who helped us grow.
    Gratitude is also acting, doing something for those who need it, those in difficulty, just to be grateful for what we have and others don’t have, for the luck that accompanies us while others go through difficulties or pains.

    • Thank you most kindly, Aldo, for bring in so much more value to our discussion and I whole heartedly agree with you. I recall one of my favorite quotes by Zig Ziglar,

      “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”

      “The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” —Dalai Lama

    • Dear Suzana, I am absolutely delighted to reconnect with you after such a long time. I love all that you do to inspire others through your wonderful testimony. God has indeed, blessed me with many opportunities to share my life with others and in doing so I feel truly honored. I would love to stay connected with you and hear more of your ministry. Stay blessed.

  2. Jonathan, thank you for sharing this powerful piece with us. Immediately, when I started reading, I could sense the hope and grace with which you write – clearly inspired by living in life’s moments.
    It also made me think about silver linings, which I believe are everywhere – including our darkest moments. Of course, as I read on, you mention those silver linings, and it made me smile. Indeed, when we take a minute to give pause, there is so much around us that tells us that hope is alive.
    Thank you for sharing your insights with us.

    • Dear Laura, I am thankful for your kind words and yes there is hope all around us, and we have to look within ourselves to recognize that hope also brings us peace among the seemingly chaotic world we live in. We each can only live in a single moment at a time and as we begin to change this moment, we do change our lives… thankfulness and gratitude does make each moment worth living. Stay blessed.

  3. Johnathan you exude joy, and your words give so much hope for humanity. I am grateful to be given the opportunity to read your creation that illustrates so much gratitude for the Earth, Nature, Regeneration, it’s Creatures, and the very gift of Life. Blessings to you as well!

    • Dear Maureen, I am so thankful for your blessings as they do mean a lot to me, it surely helps me look forward to another day that is filled with challenges and the opportunity for more victories. Stay Blessed.

  4. What a beautiful and heartfelt reminder to live from gratitude as a spiritual practice, as a way to be humbly human, as a path to profound grace no matter what goes before us or after us. Thank you for this wonderful reminder, Jonathan.

    • Dear Laura, thank you. I have realized that when I express thankfulness, I am automatically caught up with the experience of being grateful for everything and everyone. It is not easy, but when we use it daily, it becomes a natural habit…. we can learn from our thankfulness and the responses it generates.

  5. Wow! Solomon sir! Sowell written, so naturally! It’s an amazing read. The quotes cited areso appropriate and accentuate the well written incisive observations. Itis very touching. Thanks for pointing me to this wonderful experience. Keep rocking!

    • Thank you most kindly…….. now that we are aware of the possibilities of multiplied blessings that Thankfulness and Gratitude can bring us…. we should make this a daily exercise and experience the manifold blessings it brings us. Stay blessed.

  6. A timely and wonderful reminder of the power of saying ‘thank you’ even in times of terrible trauma. We also need to be grateful for all that we take for granted in our daily lives. When devastation and loss bring people together by reaching out to each other it makes them realise what is truly essential in life. Thank you, Jonathan, for sharing your heartfelt insights and inspiring quotations with us.

    • Dear Noemi, what you share is very true. In the situation we realize we are alive, lost everything and in some cases everyone we loved, reality makes us look around and reach out to the nearest fellow human being and automatically reach out for a hug and a shoulder. The comfort we can share is remarkably beautiful and unless we go through these kinds of “situations” of reaching out and sharing, we can never know or experience the ’emotional bonds with each other’ that we are indeed alive and are given a new opportunity to bond, rebuild and rejoice.

  7. What a great reminder, Jonathan! I love this: “Where there is struggle, there is a silver lining, and through tough times, negative experiences, and lessons learned the hard way, appreciation for life is there to pull us up. When it feels like we’re drowning in the negative, it’s hard to find the way out, but for all we have in life, gratitude should remain constant as a guiding light.” My friend Heather Younger has taught me much about reframing adversity to work for us. Your piece is a valuable reminder that we ALWAYS have something to be grateful for.

    My favorite Einstein quote is the one you mention: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”.

    –Albert Einstein

    • Dear Melissa, thank you for your kind words. Over the years I have learned so very much from simple ordinary people, living simple ordinary lives thought each ordinary day…. even the beggar on the street corner seems content with his situation and despite his circumstances can share a smile.

      We can truly change adversity to our advantage by understanding the how’s, the why’s and the wherefore’s of what caused the circumstance and with Gratitude, learn from then. Thankfulness and Gratitude are two wonderful emotional tools we have to enjoy life. Using these tools daily will give us the victory.

  8. Jonathan, I know you have seen devastation and tragedy over and over yet your spirit speaks of Grace and gratitude. I can’t imagine what your experiences could do to your heart, but you have chosen the better attitude.

    In your article you describe the trauma, stench, and recovery efforts I such detail, but this, this caught me by the heart strings. “Their nights are spent in the warmth of a bonfire made from wood salvaged from what was once their home.”

    I am praying for you and the folks who come alongside you in your restoration of people and homes.

    • Jane, thank you ever so much for your kind words of encouragement. I have been blessed to be a part of so many peoples lives, in their joys, in their grief and in their daily ordinary lives……… in all of this I see the wonderful hand of God working miracles, when there seemed no way out.
      It is an indescribable feeling sharing a smile and a hug with someone who has lost literally everything…and with total strangers…. God is present and His compassion is evident and we realize in practical ways that He never fails – His promises are for everyone. Thank you for upholding us in your prayers.

      • Your response reminds me of a couple special verses. I love this one that says Jesus prayed for Simon and as our intercessor, doesn’t he pray for us?

        but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 ESV

        For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16 ESV

        • Dear Jane, this is a truly wonderful verse from the Scriptures and the comfort to know, acknowledge and rejoice that Jesus has prayed for us, is so powerful that we do have the power to face each new day He has entrusted into our care, to be thankful in all things and to build each other up in all ways. Thank you for sharing these gems from the Bible.

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