Tis Thanksgiving; be thankful

By Bill Shepard

If you have eyes to see the beauty about you, be thankful.
If you have ears to hear the sounds around you, be thankful.
If you have legs strong enough to take you where you want to go, be thankful.
If you have enough food on your table to kill hunger, be thankful.
If you have a place to lie down and sleep, sheltered from the heat and cold, be thankful.
Everyone does not have these things.
The following poem has been in my possession at least 50 years. It was given to me by a Bible teacher in a public school where I was teaching. This teacher’s salary was paid for by the several churches in that community. That says something about how long ago it was.
The author of this poem is unknown, but I have read it and quoted it in many places, and on various occasions. Recently I was invited back to that same school to speak at an annual meeting of former students and faculty members. I shared the poem and the story behind it, and now I share it with you. Here it is as it was given to me.


Today, upon a bus, I saw a lovely girl with golden hair
I envied her, she seemed so gay, and I wished I was as fair.
When suddenly she arose to leave, I watched her hobble down the aisle.
Under one arm she carried a crutch. But as she passed, she smiled.
Then I said, “Oh God, forgive me when I whine,
“I have two good legs and the world is mine.”

Later, walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue.
He stood and watched the others play; it seemed he knew not what to do.
Then I said, “Why don’t you join the others, dear?”
He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear.
And I said, “Oh, God, forgive me when I whine,
“I have two ears that hear and the world is mine.”

Then I stopped to buy some sweets.
The lad that sold them had much charm.
I stayed and talked with him a while; if I were late, it would do no harm.
When I arose to leave, he said, “Thank you, you’ve been so kind.
“It’s nice to talk with folk like you, you see,” he said, “I am blind.”
Then I said, “Oh, God forgive me when I whine,
“I have good eyes and the world is mine.”

With feet to take me where I go,
And eyes to see the sunset’s glow,
And ears to hear what I would know,
“Oh, God, forgive me when I whine,
“I’m blessed indeed, the world is mine.”
–Author unknown

Have a thankful Thanksgiving.

Author: Rachel Howell

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