Don’t sweat the small stuff

By CLARK HICKS,

Do you feel stressed over work, finances, health, or the state of our country?

I easily get worked up over traffic in Hattiesburg or some tweet that appears on my iPhone.

When my home WiFi is insufficient or out of order, my family suddenly becomes a discombobulated and irritated bunch, snarky and sour to each other.

What has happened to all of us?!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for Americans to pause and reflect on the things that are most important to us.

Year after year, most of us raise thanks to our Maker and one another for basic, fundamental privileges we share.

Freedom, democracy, faith, and family are some of the most common on our lists.

Years come and go, and only once a year do we as a nation set aside time for concerted, intentional thankfulness.

Why not give thanks everyday? I’m not talking only to persons of faith who engage in the discipline of daily prayer.

I’m reaching out to every human being who will listen. Daily meditation on thankfulness, I submit, calms the mind, relaxes the soul, and eases the spirit.

Why are we all not walking around with goofy, mildly creepy smiles on our faces for the gift of life, in all its contradictions and messiness?

I bet that each and every day, you could name 50 different moments of thanks. That car you drive. The tasty sausage biscuit. That sweet song on the radio. The laughter of a child. Come to think of it, you probably could name a hundred snapshots of thanksgiving on this very day.

Thankfulness is a mind discipline. The brain will go wherever you allow it to go. Down a hole, up a tree, into danger, through fear, or into zones of serenity and grace.

We can’t shield ourselves from the bad stuff. It’s coming, sometimes hard, unexpected and brutal. But, being human means we have a choice how to think and whether to thank.

Today, I’m am thankful for so much in my life. I want to freak out my family and friends and just start hugging everyone.

Years ago, one of my co-workers asked why I was so happy all the time. I had never thought about it and did not realize I seemed extra jovial to some folks, probably in an annoying way.

I’ve had bad times, but there’s no good reason for me to be a chronic pouter or worrisome wart. The more we all focus on thanks and giving, the less we wallow in whining and self interest.

I know these are simple ideas, but who needs to spend a day troubled over whether to get unlimited phone data versus a family plan with roaming fees? Life, the part that matters, is simple, and by golly, we all need to remember not to sweat the small stuff.

Thank you, the readers, for giving me a few minutes of your day!

Clark Hicks is a lawyer who lives in Hattiesburg. Email him a note at: clark@hicksattorneys.com