Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D., is the spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Community.

Faith and hope consist of many considerations. For example, there is the desire for a life of contentment and fulfillment. This is accomplished with faith in the future.

Then there is the belief that doing good and acting kindly will find favor with God. We hope that the faith we have will enable us to realize our dreams and aspirations.

Many tragedies occur in our lifetime. Sometimes we dwell on them more than the accomplishments we have achieved. We forget the creativity and exploration that gave us satisfaction.

We sometimes achieve unimaginable heights in reaching for a life with meaning but we also forget to appreciate what we have.

God sees us succumbing to temptation and floundering with no purpose or destination. God sets a plan before us, a roadmap, and we choose to not follow knowing full well the consequences of our actions.

God smiles and accepts the good with the bad and understands full well the gift of choice.

There is one thing missing however – gratitude. True, there are times when we do not feel so grateful. Still, just as we found our parents to be less than understanding at times, we were still grateful for their open arms, their unconditional love.

How about extending that to God a little.

It reminds me of something I read that talked of a dream of meeting an angel as we ascend the seven rungs on the ladder to eternity. Our guide tells us that we are in a reception area. Here is where the many prayers that are said are received.

This place where prayers are delivered was so busy with so many petitions from all over the world. All the requests are then sorted for distribution and eventually delivered to God.

Finally, we arrive at a room at the end of the corridor and much to our surprise only one angel is there sitting idly doing nothing. This, we are told is the gratitude section.

The angel says that after people receive the blessings they ask for, very few send back acknowledgments.

We then asked our guide as to how one acknowledges God’s blessings. The answer: “Just say thank you.”

How many of us stop to say thank you to God? We complain to God, we blame God, we even deny God.

How do we say thank you to God? Think of all the people in the world who have no food, no shelter, not enough resources to make their lives livable. Think of all the people in the world who are ill with no hope for a recovery, imprisoned, lonely or maimed.

Then we should bow our heads and give thanks to a God who is here this very moment.

It is not an easy road we travel, but if we say thank you enough maybe our attitude and the results of our positive responses will make all the difference in how we live our lives and at the same time extend them so that we can say thank you again the next day, and the next day – and the next day as well.

Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D., is the spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Community.

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