We seem to remember how thankful we are at Thanksgiving time. At that one time of the year, we’re bombarded by all the reminders to appreciate what we have and what we are… But, have you ever considered how caught up we get in making a living and surviving just the current chaos that we don’t stop to think about how very grateful we should be… Here are a few reasons for gratitude…
Gratitude for Life
If you’re reading this article, chances are pretty good that you’re alive. You’re continuing to breathe in-and-out. And, that’s something for which to be thankful. H.U. Westermayer wrote:
“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
The Pilgrims are one of our most prominent symbols of thanksgiving, partly because we know the horrors that they underwent (with starvation, inexperience, disease and beyond). But, while I’m thankful to be alive, I also agree with what Thornton Wilder wrote:
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
Gratitude for a New Day
Today is a new day. Some would say that it’s a fresh slate, not marred or affected by all the challenges that have come before. We have but to move forward.
Terri Guillemets wrote:
“As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.”
It’s not just a feeling or an private expression of our inner thoughts. Gratitude is meant to be expressed, as a public expression. That doesn’t mean that all the deep dark secrets, or the deep-set dramas, must be expressed or elaborated upon.
William Faulkner wrote:
“Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.”
There’s something to be said for writing, speaking, or (in other ways) expressing that profound thankfulness for all that we have, for what we are, and also for all those other paths that we somehow missed–that led us to where we are today. John F. Kennedy wrote:
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Grateful For Hard Time
I know… It’s easy to be thankful all the great things that happen in our lives: health, love, happiness, home, family, job, and all the rest. It’s not so easy to be grateful for adversity: the lost job homelessness, cancer, hunger and pain. I’ve been there… I’ve lost jobs. I’ve wondered why my whole world was falling apart. I’ve watched my son go through cancer treatments, surgeries and all the worst that a little one could possibly experience. I’ve been there, but I’m filled with gratitude.
I’m not saying that it seems easy, or that it seemed fair. I wasn’t always thankful in those moments. But, hard times have a way of showing us that we are stronger than we ever imagined. We learn hope. Kak Sri wrote:
“Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.”
Why “lovely picture”? It’s about perspective too.
No matter how difficult my experience seems when I’m in the moment, I’ve discovered that there are others who’ve gone through much worse.
The Laundry List of Thankfulness
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:
“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
It’s a laundry list of gratitude. Try it… Make a list, and keep adding to it. What are you thankful for?