Five Keys to a Thankful Heart

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Sunset from WalMartThere are always obstacles to thankfulness, and living with a painful chronic disease is certainly an obvious one. This week confronted once again things I’m no longer able to do for a holiday, I reflected on the subject of thankfulness and things much more important than color-coordinated napkins and a lovely front door wreath.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S. But as we enter this season of holidays (holy days), each one is an opportunity to open our hearts wider to others, dwell on things we hold true, and commit ourselves to a life that reflects that.

Five Kernels of Corn is a historical American poem by Hezekiah Butterworth. Our family has done dramatic recitations of it on Thanksgiving for many years. Here are five ways it shows me to stay thankful in spite of circumstances.

Five ways to encourage thankfulness

1) Remember you’ve been through worse and made it through. Some say it helps to always remember “someone else is worse off than you,” and that’s probably true, but I’m not sure it stirs up thankful feelings as well.

“The thin women stood in their doors white and still.”

They were weak and hungry, and scared. And they were also newly widowed. But they were still standing. And welcoming each morning.

2) Realize that your faithfulness will make a difference to others. Whether it’s a nation or a family or a company, your actions matter to others. Even if you are the first one or the only one, rejoicing will be contagious.

“One taper a thousand shall kindle; rejoice That to you has been given the wilderness voice!”

3) Relinquish the past and look forward. Let go, look to the future, and forgive. Whether the past is full of things you cherish or painful memories, it must remain in its place. A grateful heart looks forward.

“The raven’s gift eat and be humble and pray, A new light is breaking, and Truth leads your way;

4) Resolve to be thankful. Giving thanks is an act of the will. Throughout the poem, Bradford implores the people to give thanks.

Give thanks, all ye people, the warm skies have come

Choose to thank others and God for whatever you have been given, even strength to go on.

5) Recognize signs of hope all around you. The seasons turn and the wind changes. Even if today is very tough, we can be thankful that time moves on and focus on signs of hope. Optimism can open the door to gratitude.

The maples grow red, and the wood robins sing, The west wind is blowing, and fading the snow

Recommended reading

Image: I came out of Wal-Mart the other night & grabbed my phone to take pictures. Others were doing the same. I smiled that people had stopped to be grateful & excited about a moment of beauty in the middle of a dirty busy parking lot.

Five Kernels of Corn by Hezekiah Butterworth

‘Twas the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,
The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;
Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o’er the seas,
And the woodpeckers tapped in the clocks of the trees;
And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,
And dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.
The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddened morn;
There were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.

Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
But to Bradford a feast were Five Kernels of Corn!

“Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye people, be glad for Five Kernels of Corn!”
So Bradford cried out on bleak Burial Hill,
And the thin women stood in their doors, white and still.
“Lo, the harbor of Plymouth rolls bright in the Spring,
The maples grow red, and the wood robins sing,
The west wind is blowing, and fading the snow
And pleasant pines sing, and arbutuses blow.

Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
To each one be given Five Kernels of Corn!

O Bradford of Austerfield hast on thy way.
The west winds are blowing o’er Provincetown Bay,
The white avens bloom, but the pine domes are chill,
And new graves have furrowed Precisioners’ Hill!
“Give thanks, all ye people, the warm skies have come,
The hilltops are sunny, and green grows the holm,
And the trumpet of wind, and the white March is gone,
And ye still have left you Five Kernels of Corn!”

Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye have for Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn!

“The raven’s gift eat and be humble and pray,
A new light is breaking, and Truth leads your way;
One taper a thousand shall kindle; rejoice
That to you has been given the wilderness voice!”
O Bradford of Austerfield, daring the wave,
And safe through the sounding blasts leading the brave,
Of deeds such as thine was the free nation born,
And the festal world sings the “Five Kernels of Corn.”

Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
The nation gives thanks for Five Kernels of Corn!

To the Thanksgiving Feast bring Five Kernels of Corn!

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 at 12:55 pm and is filed under RA Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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