Life.Lessons.Lyrics: BE Thankful (4 what u got)

Life. Lessons.Lyrics

BE-Thankful (4 what u got)

The time is upon us for our yearly list of do’s and don’ts: more familiar known as New Year’s Resolutions. More often than not, these “new attitudes” rarely make it to the first blossoms of spring. Yet, this annual ritual offers more significance than merely promising to diet or quit smoking. It is emblematic of our eternal desire to become better. And that, as Martha Stewart says, is a good thing. However, there is one thing to bear in mind while on the tireless search for enlightenment.

Allow me to digress for a moment.

I have been attending Fellowship of Love Church in Fayetteville, GA since last Easter. Though I am not exactly a devout Christian, I enjoy the environment and the fellowship. The pastor, B.A. Jackson, blends academic research, intellectual prowess and motivational scripture like a heavenly elixir. His last sermon was no exception. Quoting the most notable lines from Michael Jackson’s “Wanna be startin somethin,” he focused on the idea of being stuck in the middle. However, rather than speaking of being trapped in the muck and mire of the mind-numbing minutia of life’s details, he encouraged the congregation to focus on Making it in the Middle. We aren’t where we WILL be but we are not where we WHERE.

In other words, be thankful for what you got. Follow me, now.

William DeVaughn designed sewers. He worked for the Government of the United States of America. Seems like a pretty forgettable character, right? Maybe not.

William DeVaughn took $900.00 and recorded a song that went on to sell 2,000,000 copies. He is the author and voice behind the inspirational anthem Be Thankful. The refrain may be familiar to you, as it has been sampled and covered by more than a few artists. Its simplicity and earnest ghetto-ethos makes it a wonderful song to study. It is also notable that William DeVaughn was a devout Jehovah’s Witness, and that his song was rife with more praise than pimpin’. He sings:

Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac Gangsta whitewalls

TV antennas in the back

You may not have a car at all

But remember brothers and sisters

You can still stand tall


Just be thankful for what you’ve got

Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac Diamond in the back, sunroof top

Diggin’ the scene

With a gangsta lean

Gangsta whitewalls

TV antennas in the back


You may not have a car at all

But remember brothers and sisters

You can still stand tall

Just be thankful for what you’ve got


Diamond in the back, sunroof top

Diggin the scene

With a gangsta lean, wooh-ooh-ooh

Mr. Devaugh crafted a hit comprised of very few words but pregnant with possibility. The song employs concise imagery; juxtaposed with a reality that the great big Cadillac with gangsta whitewalls and TV antennas in the back may be just a fantasy. In fact, he suggests that your reality could possibly not involve a car at all. Yet the ability to still stand tall is not connected to either of those possessions. It lies simply in being thankful for what you got.

“Now, let’s get it all in perspective.” – Nas

Let’s be honest. Rappers are liars! With recoup costs, video costs, producer costs; management and agent fees and the point system for record sales compensation, very few of your fly and flashy champions have the money to afford the Lambos they taut. Conversely, some news reports have shown a few of them being sued for not paying their bills. The reality is that “what they eat don’t make you shit!”

There is power in being self-sufficient and satisfied. So, I encourage you to embrace the newly used whip that allows you to travel between the proverbial points A and B. Embrace last season’s fashion that has finally been broken in and hugs your curves as you like. Moreover, embrace the snoring body with whom you share the gift of soothing slumber within the cradle of night. If we were to place all of our respective problems into a hat and trade them for those of another, we’d be dying to recoup our original problems back.

But, the lesson goes further than that. If the Lord does not give us anything that we cannot handle, is it not possible that said sentiment applies to both blessings and burdens? What looks good to you may not be good for you: it may not even be for you.

Therefore, be anxious for nothing. Take daily account of what you ARE and HAVE that was once only a fleeting hope. Control your desires and limit your complaints.

Or ponder the words taught to us by The Rolling Stones: You can’t always get what you want… But sometimes… You get what you need.

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