Necessity and Extravagance: Being Thankful for What You Have

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Necessity and Extravagance: Being Thankful for What You Have

Dziękuję! Danke schön! Thank you! Merci!

These words framed my life from birth (born in Poland, in what used to be Prussia/Germany) to the start of a new life in Canada at the ripe old age of 2. Since then, I’ve learned a few more ways of expressing gratitude by traveling and living in quite a few other parts of the world.

I have much to be thankful for. I was raised in a loving and supportive home. I have an incredible wife (36 years – thank you, honey!) and four children. Two of these have made wonderful choices in spouses (leaving two still available – just saying…). We have a beautiful granddaughter, with our first grandson due before Thanksgiving. We all like each other, get along together, and share a common faith in God.

We have the food and shelter we need: indeed, an abundance that would be the envy of most people around the world. On top, I live in an age with stunning technological provision. As I digitize my books and papers they become accessible anywhere, easily searchable, and I can load them on my various iDevices, computers, and in the cloud. Our progress is staggering!

When I taught a church history course in Singapore 25 years ago, I tried to figure out how to safely transport about 50 lbs/23 kilos of binders and notes. The weight was less critical than the thought of some airline misplacing these. And that’s when Visioneer/PaperPort introduced their little sheet-fed scanner. I spent many evenings feeding my papers through the device (at a blazing 10 sec./page) and was thrilled with the result. Today, my Fujitsu fi-6130, ScanSnap iX500 and SV600 go far beyond: faster, better, with clearer output and smaller files, and the output is immensely more usable anywhere.

Granted, if life needs of food, safety, shelter, and meaningful existence are not being met, then “really cool stuff” doesn’t do much. I am grateful this Thanksgiving for the provision of needs, but also for an extravagant meeting of wants. I am grateful for those I’ve met along the path who’ve encouraged me, helped me, changed me for the better. I pray to do the same for others: as I have been blessed, I want to make others glad they crossed my path. I want to provide joy and love and reason for thanksgiving.

Terima kasih (Indonesia – our next grand adventure! Read about us at

Waldemar Kowalski
Education ScanSnap Squad Member