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Thoughts on Thankfulness
Steve Proctor

By: Steve Proctor on November 19th, 2018

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Thoughts on Thankfulness


This is the time of year when we pause to reflect on the blessings of life, and thank God for what we enjoy throughout the year. It is also a time for us to take stock and reset our thought process about how we see ourselves and those around us.  I have a few thoughts I would like to share about how being thankful is beneficial to us as well as others.

First of all, thankful people generally lead happier lives than those who tend to overlook their blessings. 

Whether you call it seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty or (my favorite phrase) “I’m too blessed to complain” – one thing is clear; when you focus on your blessings, the world is a better place.

Thankfulness opens our minds to the needs of others. When we recognize how we have been blessed, we are more apt to notice the needs of others whose situation in life is less fortunate. The roots of empathy are nourished by a thankful and cross silhouette in front of sunset

Thankfulness is the basis for generosity. Guilt and fear may be powerful motivators for some people, but thankfulness has staying power when it comes to sharing resources with others in need.

We can learn from those who are thankful in the face of hardship.  In his book, Traveling Light, Max Lucado tells the story of a short-term missionary on the island of Tobago who was leading a worship service in a leper colony on the last day of his trip.

“He asked if anyone had a favorite song. When he did, a woman turned around, and he saw the most disfigured face he had ever seen. She had no ears and no nose. Her lips were gone. But she raised a fingerless hand and asked, “Could we sing Count Your Many Blessings?” The missionary started the song, but couldn’t finish. Someone later commented, “I suppose you will never be able to sing that song again.” He answered, “No, I’ll sing it again - just never in the same way.”

For many of us, being thankful is an intellectual exercise that is not as heartfelt as it should be - especially given how much we have been blessed. Some time ago I read a question that helped put this thought in perspective.  “What would your life be like if tomorrow God removed everything that you did not thank Him for today?”coffee with note, practice gratitude daily

Being thankful calls us to express that gratitude in a tangible way – by helping someone who is in need.  Hundreds of individuals in need reside within the Presbyterian Senior Living family.  If you are feeling especially thankful at this time of year, I would encourage you to support this ministry.

Finally, I am thankful for the thousands of employees, volunteers, and contributors that support our work every year.  Each of you are a blessing to us.  Our hope for you is that you will continue to be blessed as you reach out to help the less fortunate. If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. (Luke 6:38)   

About Steve Proctor

As the now-retired CEO of Presbyterian Senior Living, Mr. Proctor was employed by PSL from 1971 - 2019. He is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Nursing Home Administrator with a BS degree in business administration from Elizabethtown College. He also holds a master’s degree in gerontology from the University of North Texas. Before becoming CEO, Mr. Proctor was Chief Operating Officer for 16 years. In addition, he has served as a Board member and is a Past President of the Pennsylvania Association of Non-Profit Homes for the Aging (“PANPHA”). In November of 1995, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (“AAHSA”), now known as LeadingAge, recognized Mr. Proctor’s proven leadership and accomplishments by electing him to serve as Chair of its national board of directors. He served as Chair-elect in 1996 and 1997, as Chair in 1998 and 1999, and as past-Chair in 2000 and 2001. He has also served as chair of the International Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.