When I was a little boy of 5 or 6, I would dutifully attend church, sitting in the pews with my sister and three brothers. Sitting there in my starchy white shirt, navy blue blazer, bow tie, and my black and white two-tone shoes that were all the rage in the mid to late-60’s, I would try to pay attention for the hour or so service.
Unlike other families, we were never allowed to sit with our parents.
That’s because my dad was usually running the service and delivering the sermon, while my mom would sit with the choir and occasionally hit me and my little brother up with those ‘wait until this service ends you little twerps’ look when we were kibitzing or picking at each other as only brothers can do.
To this day I cannot remember many names of hymns that we sang, but if you start the first line I am pretty well able to complete the first verse of every one.
One hymn comes to mind today for as we leave for our Christmas break – Count Your Blessings
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done
When you run a trucking company or a logistics or freight brokerage, there are times you are going to be tested. Even if you aren’t tested on the work front, you can be tested on the personal front – still having to go work and perform after the breakdown of a marriage, the loss of a loved one, a sick child.
In its most practical terms – it’s just life.
At its most elevated, it’s what makes it great to be a human being. The ability to experience the joys and disappointments, the pains and pleasure, the good and the bad, that comes with living on this planet with a whole bunch of others.
Are you even burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly
And you will sing as the days go by
I saw a clip on Facebook the other day of two guys who not only work as carpenters, but who sing Christmas songs as they work. I then thought about all the companies who use our trucking software, about their drivers out on the highways and byways of the continent.
I can imagine that across this continent, every day drivers are whistling, singing, humming, tapping their fingers and feet as they drive the roads of the nation – enjoying those golden moments when the traffic is lighter, the road is dryer, and the sun is brighter than before.
When you look at others, with lands and gold
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold
Count you many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high
It sometimes can be challenging comparing your success, and the success of your business, to that of others. Inevitably you will find ways that you come up short, feeling the lesser because you are not the best or the greatest, on one particular dimension or the other.
But at the end of the day, the thing that is most important is finding happiness and joy on your own terms – on the things important only to you. Being grateful for all the people, places and things around you is the foundation for happiness. Religions have known it for a long time, but now scientists are also weighing in on the transformative effect of gratitude – of finding that state of grace in one’s life, in one’s business.
So amid the conflict whether great or small
Do not be discouraged, God is over all
Count your many blessings, angels will attend
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end
Christmas is a Christian tradition. And while Christianity still plays a major part in this holiday, it is perhaps becoming more of a family and commercial event than a religious one. For some this is lamentable, while for others, this is the evolution of a great tradition in a changing more pluralistic – and hopefully more accepting – society. While this hymn comes from the viewpoint of Christianity, the truth of it speaks universally – a universal truth about all of our lives.
That truth is, counting our blessings is something we should all do during this holiday season, and it’s something we could all benefit from doing each and every day of our lives.
To all of you, I wish you the benefit of counting your blessings. I plan to count mine too.
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