Last week, I found myself confronting an all-too-familiar experience that I typically try to avoid—driving on the interstate. My destination was Jacksonville, where I was visiting a friend in the hospital. It’s only a 45-minute drive, and the quickest route is Interstate 95. As I merged onto the busy highway, I made a promise to myself to remain calm and not succumb to the race car mania of the other drivers around me. I vowed to take my time and stay composed.

Five minutes later, I caught myself with jaws clenched, shoulders tense, and my fists gripping the steering wheel as I barreled down the road at 90 miles an hour. Regaining my composure, I reminded myself to breathe and relax, pulling myself back into a state of equilibrium. This process of catching myself and realigning with my intentions became a repeated practice throughout the journey.

Around one-third of the way into the drive, my car alerted me that one of my tires was going flat. Luckily, I was just an exit away from a tire dealership. Upon arrival, I quickly realized that this place, like many others in our nation, was understaffed, with too few workers trying to assist a flood of customers. Despite their best efforts, the situation was stressful.

Fortunately, I was able to find a comfortable spot in their waiting room and decided to use my time to work on my Sunday talk. However, my peaceful atmosphere didn’t last long before another customer, whom I would label as an “angry retired guy,” showed up ready for a fight. It didn’t matter how apologetic the staff was towards him; he was mad and determined to stay that way.

Amazingly, as I sat there and listened to him, I began to feel gratitude for my situation. I could have easily gotten stranded that afternoon on the interstate during a Florida summer thunderstorm. And I am certain that my friend in the hospital would have gladly traded places with me.

In the face of challenges, acknowledging the things we can be grateful for has a profound effect. When we embrace gratitude, it multiplies the goodness in our lives and empowers us to become blessings not only to ourselves but also to those around us. Our very presence can make a difference in the world, spreading love, joy, and compassion.

As children of the Most High, we are empowered to carry out this noble mission. We have a lamp that illuminates our path, guiding us towards fulfilling our purpose. Our role is to be on the move, knowing who we are and to whom we belong—children of the divine, destined to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Today, let us hold onto this truth and empower ourselves to embrace gratitude amidst life’s challenges. By doing so, we step into our authentic selves, fulfilling the higher calling that the spirit has entrusted us with. The world awaits the difference we can make, and we are ready for the task at hand.

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