With so many things occupying my mind, as a husband, son, brother, pastor, community leader and doctoral student, it is easy to become overwhelmed with to-do lists, responsibilities, challenges and choices. If I am not careful, I can easily get lost in the routines of my day and forget to take the time to be grateful.
In a world full of inputs such as news, information, social media, conversations and text messages, it is difficult to remember I must also make time for output. Everywhere I turn there is an opportunity to receive an update, hear another story or learn a new fact. When, where and how do I make the time to take a break from it all and embrace the power found in a restorative exhale? I am convinced this powerful exhale is rooted in giving thanks to God.
There is something powerful about setting aside a moment to express gratitude for my life. When I retreat to my quiet place with no one else around, healing and recovery can happen when I clear my mind and remember to be thankful. Something special happens when I reflect how my faith, family and friends frame the story of my life. I am instantly moved to be thankful. Thankful for my faith that guides my journey. Thankful for every relationship that molded me. Thankful for the experiences that shaped my character. Thankful for my family who supports and nurtures me.
I have learned, as the Apostle Paul wrote, to be content in all things, even when life departs from my envisioned “perfect plan”.
It is through the power in giving thanks I can appreciate the challenges of my past and the obstacles standing before me. I can be thankful for the wind and the rain, both which foster an environment where strength and maturity are developed. And although great power is generated when I pour out my heart in solitude, I have discovered this same power is multiplied when I give thanks in the presence of other grateful people.
This power in giving thanks becomes contagious, as the words from my mouth and the meditations of my heart engage the Spirit of those around me in a moment of corporate thanksgiving. This moment is so powerful that it transcends language, gender, ethnicity and religion, as it flows among our hearts and builds unity as we worship together. What a time, what a time, what a time.
On Nov. 24, Interfaith Action of Central Texas will host their 35th Annual Interfaith Day of Thanks Service. If you are seeking an opportunity to experience the power of giving thanks with other grateful people, we invite you to join us. There is power when we gather for a united time of fellowship and worship with a heart of thanksgiving. I look forward to seeing you there.
The Rev. Daryl Horton serves as assistant to the pastor and youth pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, president of the Baptist Ministers Union of Austin and Vicinity and member of Interfaith Action of Central Texas’ board of directors.