Socks again?
It’s happened to all of us. You unwrap a gift from a loved one and it’s about as far off the mark as it could be. (Hopefully this has never happened when it was a gift purchased at Lehman’s!)

How can you thank someone for a gift you didn’t want and don’t like? You don’t have the emotion required to give your words meaning, and you can’t fake it with a loved one.

Now imagine the other extreme. Your doorbell rings late at night and it’s a stranger returning your 16-year-old safely home after what could have been a deadly car accident.

Take it a step further and imagine that this Good Samaritan pulled your child from a burning car. How can you thank them enough? The emotions are so huge, so powerful and so consuming that don’t have the words required to express your gratefulness.

This Thanksgiving comes after a stretch of uncertainty that may have your emotions running the gamut. If things have gone right for you, it might be hard to put your gratefulness into words. On the other hand, if you’ve lost your job, had your financial security threatened or lost your health, it might be hard to be thankful for anything.

At the very least, these tough economic times exaggerate our emotions. Uncertainty adds fuel to our stress and doubt to our success. To some extent, though, this is true every Thanksgiving. Let’s face it, life is full of challenges.

On the other hand, my experience is that life can be full of rewards, too. This is especially true if we live our lives focused on meaning, values and relationships rather than achievements.

But, no matter what I am focused on, I have to admit that I often feel little of the overflowing gratitude that I think we are supposed to have. The truth is, I often feel guilty about it.

If you’re facing this same emptiness, here’s what I think we both need.

First, let’s admit we’re not perfect. I know I ought to be more grateful. I suppose that’s a part of the human experience, and something we all must acknowledge sooner or later.

Second, cancel the guilt. (Easier said than done, eh?) But, let’s face it, gratitude is an emotion. It just happens. We can’t turn gratitude on like flipping a light switch.

Finally, I think we need to realize that our giving thanks may have to be an act of the head and will, rather than heart and emotion. In the end, we may need to give thanks from our minds when our emotions simply aren’t there.

We’ve lost a lot of good things over the last year. But, I hope that there is still lots to be thankful for in your life. My prayer for you and your family is that you can experience warmth, love and safety this Thanksgiving.

May your holiday season be filled with all that makes life worth living!
Galen Lehman
Galen Lehman, President, Lehman’s

Galen Lehman
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This week’s blog posting was inspired by the sermon I heard on Sunday from Larry Augsburger.

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Sarah Nussbaum
14 years ago

Thanks for this post, Galen. As we get closer to Thanksgiving, the words to this amazing song keep going through my head. The sentiment is very important these days, even though some may view the lyrics as corny or even trite. Anyway, I love the song.
Here are the lyrics, for what it’s worth:

Grateful – by John Bucchino

I’ve got a roof over my head
I’ve got a warm place to sleep
Some nights I lie awake counting gifts
Instead of counting sheep

I’ve got a heart that can hold love
I’ve got a mind that can think
There may be times when I lose the light
And let my spirits sink
But I can’t stay depressed
When I remember how I’m blessed

Grateful, grateful
Truly grateful I am
Grateful, grateful
Truly blessed
And duly grateful

In a city of strangers
I’ve got a family of friends
No matter what rocks and brambles fill the way
I know that they will stay in the end

I feel a hand holding my hand
It’s not a hand you can see
But on the road to the promised land
This hand will shepherd me
Through delight and despair
Holding tight and always there

Grateful, grateful
Truly grateful I am
Grateful, grateful
Truly blessed
And duly grateful

It’s not that I don’t want a lot
Or hope for more, or dream of more
But giving thanks for what I’ve got
Makes me so much happier than keeping score

In a world that can bring pain
I will still take each chance
For I believe that whatever the terrain
Our feet can learn to dance
Whatever stone life may sling
We can moan or we can sing

Grateful, grateful
Truly grateful I am
Grateful, grateful
Truly blessed
And duly grateful

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