Getting ready for Thanksgiving Day

Haitian woman showing off a little joie de vivre.

Thanksgiving Day is coming.

And I’m going through a list of what I’m thankful for in my life. God has blessed me with a great job, home, friends, family and pets! I’ve got so much to be thankful for in my life.

Even so, now and again, I get the blues about my life.

I blame part of these blues on my American right of the pursuit of happiness. As an American, I believe its my right to go after what I want and to get it. And with that mentality, there comes the sadness of not getting what I want, when I want it.

Lucky for me, I’ve learned I have another option in regards to joy. It’s called joie de vivre or joy of life. It’s simply, being happy to be alive. There is no pursuit involved.

In 2010, I visited Food for the Hungry communities in Haiti. Most communities were still living in temporary shelters. Their schools had been destroyed. Towns were in shambles.

But the Haitians I saw would get up every morning, iron their cloths, get dressed and face the day with passion. It didn’t matter what they did, they had an inner joy inside them–whether they were rebuilding their home, sweeping a sidewalk shop or looking for work.

I learned from the Haitians that no matter how tough life gets, be thankful that you are alive. Because when you are alive, no matter where you start, you begin a journey to experience God’s love.

Yes. Life is unpredictable. It can be cruel and wonderful. But regardless of what it brings, when we give thanks to God for this day that He has made and ask Him to be with us through it, we are pleasing Him. We are most likely loving others. And just those two things, loving God and others, is much to be happy about. I’m thankful that God’s love exists. I’m thankful to be alive to experience it.

About Renee Targos

Renee is a former journalist and editor for national arts and business publications. As a writer for Food for the Hungry, Renee explores and reports on the work and relationships of partners, FH staff and impoverished communities.

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