Gratitude?!

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 “What?!?” My friend exclaimed when I suggested what I thought was a seasonally appropriate topic for this article. “Gratitude?!? Is your head in the sand?”

My friend had a valid point. Let’s face it, everywhere it seems we are more divided and we are more divisive; natural disasters abound; disparity between rich and poor increases; there’s armed conflict on almost every continent; and the political maneuvering that claims headlines worldwide is both pathetic and tragic. In truth, much of the world isn’t feeling very grateful right now.

The world may not be feeling very grateful right now and maybe that’s the problem – we aren’t feeling grateful. We’re so caught up in what is not to our liking – we’re so focused on things that are not going as we would like – that we’ve lost sight of what is good and right and positive in our lives.

Personally, I know when I’m not feeling grateful, it’s because I’m too focused on me. Experience teaches me that when I look outside myself and focus on others, I find many reasons to be grateful.

G.K. Chesterton makes an interesting point:

How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it … You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.

It’s interesting how my gratitude increases when I consider and appreciate what other people do well, how they add value, how they contribute to society, how they bring joy to others.

Consider the providence that puts you in positive circumstances.  Likely you have water to drink, food on your table, shelter over your head and hope for the future. Think about your spouse, children, family, friends and colleagues, and what they mean to you. Remember the laughter, the love, the joy, the camaraderie you enjoy in relationship with others.

Reflecting on my circumstances and relationships – life, health, faith, purpose, loving family, dear friends, wonderful teammates, valued clients – I realize how blessed I am.

When was the last time you intentionally demonstrated genuine gratitude to another person? True gratitude is mirrored. It brings a lift in spirit to both the giver and receiver.

This season let’s embrace a positive message.  Let’s be thankful for our blessings, for each other, for what is good in life.Let’s uplift and encourage each other. Let’s celebrate the season with gratitude in our hearts.

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