As the holiday season approaches, I thought I could write a small bit about the importance of being thankful. See, Thanksgiving and Christmas are about more than having an extravagant meal, it’s a time where families and friends come together to share in one another’s company and remember how blessed they are. Although Thanksgiving is an American holiday, Sport Changes Life has offered to have us all in Belfast for a family dinner. Being 3,000 miles away from home is hard during such a special time of year but I’ll have the company of my SCL family to help.
I recently watched a Ted Talk online by David Steindl-Rast called “Want to Be happy? Be Grateful” which ironically goes hand-in-hand with the holiday season. David begins his talk by pointing out that the one commonality among all human beings is our desire to be truly happy. Not just happy for a moment, but that pure happiness that lasts a lifetime. He goes on to discuss that this type of happiness is found when one is truly grateful.
It is hard to be grateful when life has you at your lowest, but I’ve learned that the best time to remember how truly blessed you are is in those exact moments. On good days, I’m thankful for all that went well and on bad days, I’m thankful for the lesson I learned and strength I have gained. Life hits us with things that seem impossible to conquer, but these speed bumps are merely challenges which help strengthen us on our journey. It is impossible to be happy when you are full of anger and hatred. The best way to live a happy life is to count your blessings not your problems.
I was very lucky to take a trip to Kingston Jamaica this past summer with the Albertus Magnus College Business Club to do some service work in a local community. I went on the trip in hopes of being able to change these children’s lives, but what I didn’t expect was to be given a life lesson in return. Families whom has so little were among the most grateful people I had ever met. The Riverton Community was one of the poorest areas in the country and yet the children continued to smile. They were thankful for each other and in turn were a community full of so much happiness.
We all know that it is easy to take the small things in life for granted such as the meal on the table, the ability to walk, and a roof over our heads. The challenge is to remember to be grateful for those little things as well as the big things. Since my arrival here in Limerick, I have been overjoyed to meet such incredible people. Even on my worst days, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be in the company of these exceptional people and apart of such a special program. I am grateful for the young girls and boys I get to coach, my club and school teammates, my new friends, and the families who have welcomed me into their home to spend quality time together. I’m constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have a supportive group of people back home but also an entirely new family here in Limerick, which in turn makes me genuinely happy.
Gratefulness is Happiness