Is Gratitude Enough?

I saw this video yesterday on my friend’s Facebook feed. It’s only 90 seconds long. Please watch.

My wife and I waited years to have our daughter. Seeing this boy suffer under such terrible circumstances made me ache. I pictured my own little girl struggling to breathe, sobbing, wondering where her family is and why they were not there with her. And then the bombing happened.

Several comments came to my friend’s post. Some were expressions of gratitude. “We are so blessed to live in the U.S.” was one reply. I agree we are extremely fortunate, and expressions of gratitude to not be in such hell-like circumstances are appropriate.

But is gratitude enough? If you consider the terrible atrocities happening in places like Aleppo, Syria, is there really nothing more we can do than to be grateful we’re not in such a place? Many of these people flee, while others are stuck. Some escape as refugees, others cling to the towns and villages of their nativity and are bombed and gassed by their leaders.

I don’t have an answer, but I feel strongly that our gratitude must move us to action. Recognition of how much we have should motivate us to act for others who not only have little, but who suffer with much.

I don’t know how to help the suffering people in this video. I’m not an expert, but I don’t believe rulers bombing their own people tend to allow other countries to send food, water, and medical supplies across their borders. I could be wrong and hope I am. Another commenter on the post said she had given to an organization called Direct Relief. Perhaps they can successfully distribute much needed resources.

But from my short 36 years of life experience I can tell you this: There is probably someone in your own workplace, church, community group, or neighborhood who is suffering. It’s not from war and tyranny, but possibly from addiction, neglect, illness, or abuse.

If you’re reading this article you likely come from incredible privilege. You have a great job, a home, a car, and a $500 mobile device in your pocket or handbag. You can go to the local grocery store and buy almost anything you can think of for a very reasonable price.

At this time of Thanksgiving, I’d encourage us to allow our gratitude to move us to action. With your abundance of resources - skill, knowledge, compassion, wisdom, AND wealth - find some ways to give relief to others. I’m not saying this will be enough, but it is a good next step from gratitude.