Thankful for More Than the Least We Need

Scarcity is a prolific author.

Since the beginning of time, Scarcity has written more stories than Stephen King, William Shakespeare, and Danielle Steele combined.

And there’s a reason for this, of course. Scarcity sells. As human beings, we’re hardwired to notice it, to respond to it, to talk and write and sing about it.

What don’t you have enough of right now, at this moment? Money? Love? Food? A car? A home? A job? Clients? The validation of others? The respect of your peers? Good health? Or maybe just time?

The reason I’m thinking about this today is because tomorrow, at least here in the United States, it will be Thanksgiving. And invariably, while those of us who are lucky and/or privileged enough to do so sit around a table celebrating with others, the Big Question will be asked …

What are you thankful for this year?

It’s such a simple question, really. I mean, who can’t pick something to be thankful about when you’re drawing from a year’s worth of experiences?

Yet I know that for myself, and I suspect it’s the same for many others as well, the responses that come out of our mouths in these moments are ones that express thankfulness for some respite from Scarcity. Because that’s the low hanging fruit, right? Things like …

“I’m thankful to have a roof over my head and a family I care about who cares about me.”

“I’m thankful to still have a job (or clients) in hard economics times, and enough money to pay the bills.”

“I’m thankful that neither I nor anybody I know has been a victim of COVID so far.”

Again, it’s a natural response. Scarcity tells a compelling story, creating challenges and conflicts and plot twists for us every day. And so anytime we’re able to say to the world that Scarcity did not win seems like a happy ending to us. One more day. One more dollar. One more hug from a loved one.

But what if we (or at least I) were to make a point of finding a way to respond to the question of what we’re thankful for with a statement that doesn’t simply counteract something scarce but actually creates the potential for something good in our lives? Things more like …

“I’m thankful for everybody who believed in me and in others this year, thereby helping all of us envision a brighter future for ourselves, for our families, and for the world.”

“I’m thankful for all of the possibilities for success and joy that wait on the road ahead of me as a result of everything I’ve learned and the experiences I’ve had so far in my life.”

“I’m thankful for the many opportunities that were unexpectedly created for me and for so many others this year by the challenging conditions created for us all by the COVID crisis.”

Those statements tell a much different story.

Ultimately, Abundance is perhaps not as prolific an author as Scarcity. But the stories it writes are often more profound. More deeply satisfying. The kind of story that leaves us with a smiling face rather than a racing heart as we reach the end of it, slowly flip that last page, and set it gently on the bedside table.

By contrast, the stories that Scarcity writes seem to beg sequels and long series. Because there’s always something we don’t have enough of. Love or money or time. So in order to scratch that itch, we need to overcome Scarcity repeatedly, knowing full well that the itch won’t ever go away.

So what if this year, at Thanksgiving dinner (or whatever passes for a day of thanks or reflection in your culture), we took the time to be thankful not just for something that feeds the ego of Scarcity, but that also pays homage to the great and often overlooked works of Abundance. Things we’re hopeful about. Things we’re looking forward to. Opportunities yet discovered and the ones that are already ripe for pursuit.

What is the story of Abundance that you can tell this year?