Recently, I was representing FOCUS North America at an Antiochian Conference. At the time, I had just been brought on as the new Director for Orange County. As I was meeting and greeting conference participants, one attendee came to our FOCUS booth and sat down to talk.  

This inspirational young woman said she wanted to help FOCUS help others so she decided to cancel her cable TV subscription and donate what she was paying to the cable company to FOCUS as a monthly recurring donation.

I was both surprised and overjoyed that she thought of others and was willing to eliminate her home entertainment to accomplish that goal. This was one of my first experiences working with FOCUS – to witness how generous and kind a complete stranger was being to people she didn’t even know.

Now, months later, I am reminded of this attendee’s sacrifice every time FOCUS Orange County receives a donation. I continue to be moved by her generosity and selflessness.  In an effort to show my gratitude, I recently reached out to thank her and told her that because of the gifts FOCUS receives like hers, we are able to reach out and help others.

I was surprised when I received a note back stating she wanted to thank ME for my hard work helping the needy. She adds that without my work, any contribution she made wouldn’t be doing anything. Again, I was humbled by her actions.

When I think of Gratitude, I think of this young woman. She is making a difference every month by choosing to show gratitude through giving back to others. Her monthly offering isn’t giving from treasures she had in excess, but rather eliminating something that brought her entertainment every day in order to help others to receive food, a necessity in life. Yet, she is grateful.

Just like this woman I met, all of us are called to be grateful in ALL circumstances. We are called to be grateful in sacrifice, and accept opportunities to deny ourselves for the sake of others. We are called to be grateful in times of suffering, and trust in God’s everlasting love and care. We are called to be grateful in times of joy, attributing all good things not to ourselves and our wordly efforts, but to God alone.

This month I invite you to join me, and those of us at FOCUS, on a journey of gratitude. Follow us on Social Media and Subscribe to our newsletter for a free guide to everyday gratitude. Join us on Gratitude Tuesday, December 3, celebrate and encourage the generosity that stems from gratitude.

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5.16–18)

Written by: Irene Basdakis, Orange County Director

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