Bob Tamasy: Giving Thanks When You Don’t Feel Thankful

Monday, November 25, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Thanksgiving means different things to many people: Pilgrims and native Americans sharing a meal; turkeys – living, or stuffed and roasted (or fried); family and friends getting together to stuff themselves; traditional football games; Grandma’s favorite recipes; holiday parades; pecan or pumpkin pie. Some people actually see it as a day for genuine thanksgiving, being thankful to God for blessings they’ve experienced over the past year.


But what if the day arrives and you don’t feel thankful? You’ve recently lost a dear loved one; confronted seemingly insurmountable financial problems; dealt with serious health issues; faced intense family conflict; lost a job, or just feel like has dealt you a bad hand in general and there’s no re-deal. How can you be thankful for things such as these?


Years ago I helped my friend, Albert, write a booklet about his life titled, “Saying ‘Thank You’ Even When You Don’t Feel Thankful.” Those who know him understand he’s had many reasons for not feeling thankful.


He grew up in the Netherlands during World War II, enduring great poverty and near-starvation. He and his family subsisted on tulip bulbs and occasional sugar beets. One result of malnutrition was contracting tuberculosis and being confined to a bed for more than three years, 2½ of those in a hospital far from his family.


After immigrating to the United States, Albert worked hard and eventually became a successful entrepreneur, but has endured various business setbacks and other illnesses, including cancer. He’s got every reason to not be thankful, whether at Thanksgiving or any other time. And yet, he’s perhaps the most joyful, thankful person I know.


Why? There’s only one reason – his relationship with Jesus Christ and confidence that no matter what happens, God is with him every step along the way, providing comfort, strength and whatever else is needed to endure and overcome his adversities.


Albert explains, “God is in control of all things. When you accept Christ, your life is going to be totally changed. One of those changes is that you realize everything is going to be all right, no matter what.


“I have seen God prove this in my life many times,” he says. “I’ve had half of a lung removed because of a faulty biopsy report. One night I was riding in a car on the German Autobahn. Suddenly a car stopped directly in front of us. We struck it going about 95 miles an hour, yet I was able to walk away from the accident. And I’ve had many ups and downs in business.


“God never promises things will be easy when you become a Christian, but He does promise He will take care of you no matter what the circumstances may be.”


For Albert, reflecting on his life’s highs and lows, one passage from the Bible sums up the hope – confident assurance and earnest expectation – that has sustained him during his adult life: “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).


Having known Albert for more than 30 years, I know these are not empty words or platitudes, but the heartfelt expression of a man who has walked intimately with God and wouldn’t trade his life with anyone or for anything.


I hope when Thanksgiving Day arrives this Thursday, you’ll find much for which to be thankful. If not, I hope that like my friend, you’ll be able to give thanks even if you don’t feel thankful.


---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Proceeds Of The Momentum Network's Gather Gala To Benefit Single Mothers In Chattanooga

The MOMentum Network will kick off its second annual GAT HER : Grit and Grace celebration on  May 6,  at Calvary Chapel, with proceeds of the event benefiting single mothers in Chattanooga. Women of the community are  invited to come and experience a night of intentional support, encouragement, and  uplifting fellowship with all proceeds from the event ... (click for more)

JFEST To Be Held At Camp Jordan May 21

JFEST Christian Music Festival will be at Camp Jordan on Saturday, May 21.  Gates open at 11 a.m. with the Jfest/Run for God 10K  beginning at 7:30 a.m. and the Run for God 5K will begin at 8 a.m.  Artist lineup includes: Crowder, Jamie Grace, Chris August, 7th Time Down, Jason Gray, Hollyn, Zealand Worship, Mending Wall, and one of the nations top Christian ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Rules That Hutcheson Medical Center And Its Trustees Owe Erlanger $36,379,968.20

A federal judge at Rome, Ga., has ruled that the Hospital Authority of Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties and Hutcheson Medical Center are liable to pay Erlanger Health System $36,379,968.20. Judge Harold Murphy, in a 90-page opinion, discarded a counter-claim brought by Hutcheson against Erlanger. He directed that Erlanger be paid $20 million for money it spent while managing ... (click for more)

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson Hospitalized; 2 Cleveland Police Officers Injured After Altercation With Man With History Of Assaults

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson and two Cleveland Police officers were injured Thursday while intervening in a domestic assault in progress. While driving on 25 th St. N.W. Sheriff Watson witnessed the assault, it was stated. When the sheriff tried to intervene, the man involved in the assault attacked him. During the scuffle the man struck Sheriff Watson numerous times, ... (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cancer Is Not A Battle

I read a marvelous essay not long ago where the author urged, “Stop telling the lie that cancer is a battle … a battle implies a fair fight, and there was nothing fair about my cancer or the cancer that took the life of my friend. Those experiences were about as fair as getting hit by a car – and nobody says people lose their battles with automobiles.” Mary Elizabeth Williams, ... (click for more)