Monday, November 20, 2006

Gratitude

I wrote this as an editorial for several of our publications at work....I hope you enjoy it! It should put you in a Thanksgiving mood!


Around the holidays, everyone focuses on being grateful. Movies and songs tell us to be thankful for what we have and to count our blessings. For a lot of people, this is hard to do. Being told to be grateful and grudgingly doing so is a lot different than being grateful, nor is reciting a laundry list of standard blessings.

True gratitude comes from the heart, and is expressed joyfully and freely. When a friend helps you out in a tough time, that’s gratitude. When a stranger helps you carry boxes up the stairs, that’s gratitude. When your husband sells his car to help pay off your student loans, that’s gratitude.

Sometimes, pure gratitude is one of the simplest emotions to express. There is a stray dog who lives around this office. He cautiously looks for food, but runs from any human. After giving him a colleague’s leftovers, I backed away and hid behind a car to watch. The dog cautiously crept forward and ate the leftovers hungrily, licking his lips. He looked at me and his eyes said what he could not.

It is not my place to tell you to be grateful, or to list off what I’m grateful for so you will see how blessed I am. It is not my place to make you feel guilty for wanting to watch football instead of thinking about how glad you are your mother is around to celebrate another holiday. There are dozens of stories I could tell you about mothers weeping over their sons returning from war or children clutching their grandparents as they lay in the hospital hooked up to machinery. But—I’m not going to.

Be grateful for the things you love, and for the things that are close to your heart. And whether you’re grateful for the food on your table or your crazy family, just be rich in the warmth that you know what you have. For when you feel that warmth in your chest, those tears threatening to spill over as you look around you, that is true gratitude. It is a wonderful feeling.