attitude of gratitude

I think it's pretty safe to assume that anyone from the south who grew up in a big family that had a semblance of a religious background grew up watching Veggie Tales. This includes yours truly. "Where Is My Hairbrush?" was my Kindergarten anthem and I think we're all lying if we claim we didn't get down to "God is Bigger Than the Boogie Man," and have at least a little bit of a crush on that one studly asparagus.

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(Upon further investigation I have discovered his name is Dad Asparagus. I meeean. Right?)

One of the most memorable episodes, in my opinion, is the Madame Blueberry one that ends in the song I've had memorized since I was four years old--The Thankfulness Song. The episode is all about a very glamorous anthropomorphic blueberry who constantly sings about being "blue," which she thinks is because of all of the material possessions that she doesn't own. This is despite the fact that she has hella material possessions (homegirl has butlers I think she's doing aight). A bunch of other stuff goes down and Madame Blueberry continues to chase after 'things' because she believes it will make her happy. Her attitude changes, however, when she is struck by the sight of children being thankful for very few/small/simple possessions like apple pie or a toy ball. She then realizes that, as the Veggie Tales fandom Wiki page states, "possessions do not bring happiness, but happy hearts do." 

While this is an incredibly simplified story primarily meant for toddlers, I think this message is still just as accurate in today's society. A big part of what makes Madame Blueberry so 'blue' is seeing all the things her friends have that she does not. Especially in such a social media-centric world, it is rare that a day goes by where I don't see something on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook that someone posted and wish it was mine. These things include but are not limited to: a dope outfit, a bougie vacation, some other girl's rockin bod, or even the people someone hangs out with. Madonna said it best when she belted the words, "we are living in a material world." Even though that song came out in 1984, it still rings true in 2017. 

A large part of the 'image' or 'brand' or 'persona' that we create for social media are the things that we own. Typically, the reason we follow someone we don't even know is because one or more elements of their life is something we lust after. Think about why the world has let Keeping Up With the Kardashians run for FOURTEEN WHOLE SEASONS. They have the lives most people wish they had. They fly to rad places on private jets and get sent designer clothing for free and they're all extremely, unfairly attractive. Why is that so interesting to us? Because we want it. 

The problem with this mindset, as Madame Blueberry so musically demonstrated, is that no matter how much crap we have it's usually not enough. We'll always want more, because that's how the consumerism we've grown up surrounded by has taught us to think. There will always be a better, more-updated version of the iPhone. There will always be a new jacket that's "in" as soon as the one you just bought is "out." There will always be someone that has better abs/skin/teeth/hair than you. That's how life is. So, then, what does that mean for us? 

It means focusing on the things we do have that can't be bought and can't be replaced or replicated. Take the Thankfulness Song, for instance. The lyrics go like this: 

I thank God for this day
for the sun in the sky
for my mom and my dad
for this piece of apple pie

The thing about this song is you can replace the lyrics with whatever fits you best. If your mom or dad aren't in your life, you can still be thankful for your sisters or brothers or best friends. If you're like me and you're not the biggest fan of fruit pie, you can still be thankful for the smell of freshly-picked flowers. Even if you don't have a lot of expensive clothes or modern technology, it's not hard to take a look at your life and find something that makes you smile. And, in turn, it's not hard to be grateful for that thing. 

I watched a video the other day of a man and his son walking on the highway in Houston. He had just been able to escape his flooding house and all he had with him was his son and the clothes on their backs. A news reporter interviewed him about his experience and he just kept repeating that God was good and he was glad to be alive. This man had a better attitude than I do on a daily basis and he had just lost his entire home. It was astounding. Why does it take something as devastating as a hurricane to show us how to treasure what we already have? 

Today, I challenge you to take on an attitude of gratitude. I'm making this post something of a call and response. There's a humble little comments section below and, if you're up for it, I ask that you tell me something in or about your life that you're thankful for. I think it would not only inspire you to be thankful, but inspire others who read them to be thankful. It can be hard to remember to be thankful for what you have when we're told every day to want something better. So lets try and make it a little easier for each other. Don't let it take losing everything to make you thankful for something.

Thank you for reading & participating. I am very thankful for every one of you. 

 

Piper


God-sends // fuel for gratitude