Our nation has institutionalized this cultural tradition emphasizing gratitude. As children we learn of Pilgrims and Indians and their mutual cooperation and shared food. Leaving aside the question of accuracy of that oft-pictured big happy feast in the woods, where I’m pretty sure they didn’t have cranberry sauce with rings on it, our nation has declared the fourth Thursday in November as a national day devoted to gratitude. A day to ponder those things and people we are most grateful for. The big things – families & friends; a year without a hurricane – and the small things – that opening in traffic so you can turn left; the warm sun on a cool day.
Gratitude is an attitude so much larger than one day at the end of November. Most of us can come up with a list of things we are grateful for on Thanksgiving. It’s another story entirely to live each day in gratitude.
While it’s easy to get caught up in what seems to be our national pastime of grouching and complaining, it’s reassuring that we have a national holiday devoted to giving thanks.
Just for a few days, let the world be. Complaining hasn’t fixed it yet, has it? Let’s stop complaining about the Christmas displays that popped up in August and the stores that are open on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t let the slow driver in front of us or the one passing us in the turn lane make us crazy.
Look around at all we have to be thankful for. Those with less tend to be more thankful, while those with more tend to take it for granted. Which are we?
Have a warm, safe place to sleep at night? Be thankful.
Have your health? Be thankful.
Have a few people who care about you? Be thankful.
Have the ability to read and speak? Be thankful.
Live in the snow zone but have the opportunity to come south to enjoy the sun? Be thankful.
You get the drift. We all, no matter our circumstances, are surrounded by gifts for which we can and should be grateful. Not for anyone’s sake but our own. Grateful people are happier. And if you tend to be on the grouchy side normally, a sudden shift will confuse people.
We all have an abundance of reasons to be thankful. For each one of us this Thanksgiving, we wish the gift of sight to recognize those blessings and the time to count and appreciate them.
May your list be long and your gratitude carry over to everyday life.