Michelle (M): We have been truly blessed in many things. Our lives, our families and our jobs or professions are just some of the many blessings that we have been given. With all the gifts that have been showered on us, we should always have a grateful heart. Sad to say, there are times that we fail to appreciate what we have and take for granted the people, resources and things that we have been given.

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Darwin John (DJ): I’m facing personal challenges at this time. I believe there are also countless others who are mired down in problems like bills, debts, a broken heart, health or career. And I remember what my late dad would always tell me whenever I was down: To count my blessings.

Life really is tough. And it is false to assume that there are people who live a perfect life. A person may be rich financially but he or she might just be poor in spirit.

No one has everything. That’s why when we’re down, it’s better to shift our focus from what isn’t to what is; from what can’t be to what can be; from what one doesn’t have to what one already has—to be grateful. This reminds us that we might not have everything but we definitely have all that we need.

M: I read a reflection that urges us to always remember to say thanks. In the Old Testament there is an interesting story of how King Jehoshaphat took an uncommon approach when his enemies waged war against him.

Instead of sending in his army first, he sent in the choir and musicians. Imagine the scene: “All right, guys, here’s the plan today. An army is out there, armed to the teeth. So we are sending in the choir and the musicians.” If I had been a choir member or musician, I might have wondered whether the king liked our music.

We read that Jehoshaphat appointed people to sing to the Lord and praise the beauty of holiness and that was exactly what they did. And when the army began to sing and praise, an ambush was sent against the enemies and the enemies were was destroyed. The people were able to go into this situation giving thanks, because they trusted that God was in control.

DJ: There was a story of a man who cursed his fate because he had no shoes. Then upon the street, he met a man who had no feet.

At times, we’re too focused on our challenges that we forget that there are others who are suffering, too. But once we become more grateful, once we realize that we always have something to share even when we’re hurting, we begin to shift our focus from ourselves and our feelings. Then we feel better. Things are no longer as difficult as they seemed.

M: Just recently my dad celebrated his 79th birthday and my son his fourth. I am grateful for having been blessed with their love and presence in my life. In asking or praying for new blessings, we should never forget to thank Him for the blessings He has already given.

Has somebody been kind to you or helped you with something that you were grappling with lately? And have you thanked that person? If you haven’t, take the opportunity to say thanks. And if the graces you received are more than sufficient, pay it forward. Pass it on.

DJ: No matter how much we have, they can never be enough. Life is imperfect. But a grateful heart in the midst of uncertainties can have a safe and sound life.

So to all those who are challenged just as I am, let’s make a decision to concentrate on joys in each and every minute: Our family and friends, the people who love us—even breathing! Let’s focus on being grateful.

(E-mail us at ssinglestalk@yahoo.com)