It was December of 1914 when a massive explosion erupted in West Orange, New Jersey. Ten buildings in the legendary inventor Thomas Edison’s plant were engulfed in flames. Between six and eight fire departments rushed to the scene, but the chemical-fueled inferno was too powerful to put out quickly. The damage exceeded $2 million but the buildings were only insured for $238,000. Much of Edison’s life work went up in flames.
As the inferno consumed years of labor, Edison’s son, Charles was searching frantically for him. When Charles finally found Edison, he was surprised to see him watching the impending destruction with a surprising calmness about him. “My heart ached for him,” said Charles. “He was 67 years old — no longer a young man — and everything was going up in flames.” When he saw me, he shouted, “Charles, where’s your mother?” When I told him, I didn’t know, he said, “Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.”
The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” Thomas Edison used thankfulness to gain the victory over the disaster in his life.
What are you thankful for today? Many of us are working from home, waiting for and wondering when life will be normal again. It is easy and natural to be filled with fear, thinking of the worst possible outcome and focusing on the negative. In reality, there is a lot of negative — the virus, lost jobs, canceled summer vacations, and dreams put on hold.
But also, take a look around and think about the positive — what you appreciate that you use to take for granted. We can all find things we once took for granted but now see differently, such as being able to buy a particular brand of cleaning product or see friends at church. And there is the discovery of new routines that you have grown to love — maybe longer conversations or deeper personal connections. Many people are finding unanticipated things to be thankful for in their new life — home cooked meals, outdoor walks, hours to read — satisfaction with the simple.
Thankfulness is a theme that appears all throughout the Bible. In fact, the word “thanks” appears over 150 times just in the Old Testament. Being grateful for the blessings you do have is key to your happiness. Start each day by identifying what’s good in your life — big and small. Write those blessings down, verbalize them to a friend and thank God for His goodness.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18