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The Guideposts executive editor shares why he feels thankful during tax season.

The pear trees seem to bloom at the same time my taxes are due.

I just got the call from my accountant—I could never do our taxes without his wizardry—and I walked up the street to his office, dreading what the news was. How much would we owe? What kind of estimate would we have to put down for next year? What about Carol’s schedule C? Did we have all the right receipts and pay stubs? I was scowling to myself…and then I noticed the pear tree.

It was beautiful, the white blossoms trembling in the cool April breeze and dropping on the ground like snow. I could think of all the past Aprils when I’d walked this same route to the accountant’s office, pausing at the pear. It was as though God had put the tree right there to stop me in my grumbling tracks, asking me to be a little bit more observant. 

Wasn’t I pretty lucky? Hadn’t Carol and I been blessed? I thought of all those pieces of paper I had handed to Larry the accountant. They formed an amazing picture of the year we’d just been through. The doctor and hospital bills and receipts from restaurants and hotels, the thank-you notes from charities and our church acknowledging our gifts. God had been very much been present. Couldn’t I just be a little grateful?

“Right, God, this is not a time to grumble, it’s a time to be thankful.” I bonked the tree trunk with my fist, shaking loose a few more blossoms, breathing in the spring air. Maybe I needed to reconsider April 15. Instead of thinking of it as doomsday, maybe I needed to think of it as Grateful Day. After all, Jesus had a heart for tax collectors too.

The pear tree was doing its best to cooperate.

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor at GUIDEPOSTS.

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