Abundance is not having more than you need; it’s having what you need.

Many of us turn introspective when discussing gratitude and abundance this time of year. Abundance is a matter of perspective. For some, it is not enough, no matter how much they have. For others, they have so little; it is impossible to dream of more but will share what they have.

During my discussion last week on gratitude and abundance, the question arose: “What makes people with little give more than those with much”? That’s a complex question, but we give to others relative to our understanding. If we have never lost what we have or never knew that not everyone has the same and equal opportunities, we may think, “I worked for what I have; they can, too.” It’s a deflection to avoid answering a need.

When there is a lack of abundant food, “why don’t people just eat soup”? This is a question I’ve heard more than I care to. Growing up, homemade chicken soup was how my mom stretched the food budget when it was just her and me. The butcher would hand my mother a bag of chicken parts no one else wanted and quietly say, “I have chicken for you today.” It was at no cost until the store owner discovered the butcher’s generosity and thought it was wrong to give anything for free, showing a lack of knowledge that a minor change for some may be a massive change for others.

Soup from a can is pretty easy to make.

Easy unless you have limiting abilities that make it impossible.

Soup can be even more problematic if the eater has disabilities or issues with texture, hot food, or food that is too cold. As a frazzled caregiver, making soup may seem overwhelming. Let’s talk about the ingredients. Are they appropriate for the person’s diet? A soup low in carbs may not be enough to meet requirements.

An easy solution for some is complex for others.

At the time, I didn’t understand the depth of the challenges my mother faced. She made providing look easy. I had what I needed to thrive and learned to provide for myself as an adult. Did I have as much as others? No. Did I have more? Yes. But neither is the point. I had what I needed, which meant I was abundantly cared for, and for that, I am grateful.

We aren’t all dealt the same cards.

When we want to help, we must meet people where they are (sometimes literally) and provide what is needed and wanted vs. what we think is required. There’s no perfect answer to end hunger or any other lack, but living each day with gratitude recognizes what we have vs. what we don’t have. Gratitude is an active commitment. By putting gratitude into action, we affect the well-being of others because we realize our abundance and want others to have that experience. By expressing gratitude, we are a positive force for change.