Our United Methodist Men’s group used a book by Harold Kushner, Living a Life That Matters, for their retreat last month. I’m a big fan of Kushner’s work. I don’t know how many copies of When Bad Things Happen to Good People I’ve given away over the years. That book has brought comfort to millions of people by helping them cope with some of life’s most shattering tragedies. As a by-product of his bestselling book, Kushner was pushed and pulled into prominence, achieving a measure of fame and fortune few ever taste.
Ironically, it was out of this position of prominence that Kushner penned his second book with the surprising title When All You Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough. His thesis being, even if you do “get it all” you won’t be satisfied, simply because life is created for something more significant than success.
As much as we’d all like to have the chance to prove him wrong, most of us will never have the opportunity. All of us know what it’s like to feel unfulfilled at one point or another in our lives. If the Bible is to be believed, from Jeremiah to Jesus, the real art of meaningful living is learning how to live life bravely, and even beautifully, on the basis of never getting “all you ever wanted.” As DeWane Zimmerman says, “Meaningful lives are those who have learned the great and graceful art of living with leftovers, even with the left over memories of loved ones who have died – or have left in other painful ways.”
This is the season of Thanksgiving. It begins and ends with a heart of gratitude. While aerobic exercise may be good for your heart, practicing gratitude is a spiritual exercise to develop a grateful heart. Grateful for all we already have – even leftovers.