Monday, November 19, 2012

A Reflection on the Gratitude Built Into Thanksgiving Week

It's Thanksgiving week and being thankful is institutionalized for a while. My pal Gina Holmes begins every morning on Facebook by telling all of us what she's thankful for. Several other people I know concentrate their early-morning energy every day on recognizing their gifts for that particular day. It's become a habit for them and it shows in their outlook in ways that make them among the more attractive people I know.

Gina's thankfulness is most often faith-based and I think most of us who have any spirituality about us (even the religious ones) will recognize when that faith is coming to our rescue as the blues descend.

I learned a good while back--during my early days of AA study--that being grateful is the cornerstone of being sober, being happy, being productive, being a good father and friend, being a good ... well, being good. That gratitude becomes a way of looking at the world, a way of accepting the little, or big, expectations that didn't go as we had planned or wanted. A grateful heart takes a setback and turns it into a success because, frankly, those setbacks teach us lessons we need to learn.

Today, I have more to be grateful for than I can say at a single sitting and many of those items are situations, events or challenges I once would have bemoaned and whined about all day. Today, they are simply my life as it is supposed to be. They are the parts of my life that often make it more interesting than it would be without them. The challenge each day is to take the downside and paint a smiley face on it--one that won't wash off. That's not a phony smile, either, but one that comes from a deep understanding that I get to exercise my heart, my soul and my brain on a regular basis, making each stronger for the next challenge.

What a wonderful week this is, but, more than that, what a wonderful life I have been given.

(Graphic: perusals.wordpress.com)

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