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MCCULLOUGH: On being thankful in tough year

A few years ago, I decided to finally close the book on my triskaidekaphobia — that’s the fear of the number 13. I decided being superstitious about a number was dumb and I wasn’t going to do it anymore.

This year, 2013, is doing everything it can to change me back.

This has not been a good year. It has, in fact, sucked, to put it bluntly. I won’t recount all of the turmoil because a) I don’t really want to share all my private matters and b) I don’t want to depress you.

And this past week put cherry pits and soured whipped cream on top of a mud sundae a couple of feet tall. But just as I was hitting one of those low points where you look skyward (or down at the ground, depending on who you’re blaming at that particular point) and yell, “Really?! Can it get any worse?” — I turned on the news and realized, yes, it can.

I was sitting in my leather recliner in my nice warm house, sipping gourmet coffee, playing on my iPhone, watching the news on my giant television — and feeling sorry for myself. And make no mistake: if I recounted the last six months you’d understand why my mood is so sour.

But then that news story came on. An apartment building had burned down. About a dozen people had lost their homes, including a mother who now has to start over during the holidays with a newborn baby.

Shame on me, I thought. Maybe I’m going through a really rough patch, but I’ve got a roof over my head. That poor lady doesn’t.

With it being the week of Thanksgiving, it got me to thinking. It may not be necessary to make a long list of things for which you’re thankful. But it is important to priortize a few of them.

If you’re healthy, be thankful. If your family is healthy, be doubly so. Because too many are sick.

If you have a job, be thankful. So many don’t.

If you have a place to call home and a warm place to sleep, be thankful. Many will sleep on the cold streets tonight.

If you have enough to eat, be thankful. You could be digging through a trash can, looking for scraps.

You get the idea: The old quote is, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.”

Even if things aren’t going your way, be thankful for what you have. To quote Kiss frontman Paul Stanley, “No matter how much or how little you have, somebody always has less.”

He was talking about charity when he said that, encouraging people to give to someone less fortunate. Because there is always someone less fortunate.

We should all try to remember that. I know I will.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.