Gratitude Fills Me
Gratitude. Gratefulness. Appreciation. Thanks. Thankfulness.
That is what this time of year is all about, right? If you are in America, this is the time we celebrate Thanksgiving. A time where historically pilgrims gave thanks for their lives in the new world. And a time when we in the modern day are supposed to pause, reflect, and see the world through grateful eyes.
Sadly, I think that has kind of gotten lost in the hype. We tend to focus on a day off from work, a huge meal followed by pie, and then the rush of the Christmas holiday is upon us. I think too many of us forget to pause and reflect because we don’t have the time.
As I get older, I am coming to understand that gratitude should grace our lives and hearts all year long. Thanksgiving just happens to be the time of year we can talk about it without being looked upon as some peace-and-love-new-ager. Gratitude is not new age. Gratitude has been around for centuries!
When I was in the depths of a depressive episode years ago, I tried to keep a gratitude journal. My thought was that if I could find five things each day to be thankful for it would help pull me out of the darkness. I found that coming up with five things on days when the clinical depression had me in its grip was not an easy task. Finally, I realized that I was looking for five big tangible things, and that I was missing out.
Gratitude for the tiny things is what makes us happy and peaceful. We lose them in the busyness of life and work. Being thankful for the warmth of the sun, the touch of a hand, a kiss from a tiny kitten. These things make life rich.
I try to do this mentally each day. Find five things during the course of the day that you are grateful for. The obvious ones – husband, family, friends are easy. So I try to find five tiny moments that I was glad to have been present for.
Yesterday for example, I saw a beautiful hawk land on a tree beside the road as I was approaching. Wings open wide, caught in a down draft, as it came to sit majestically at eye level. All I could think is wow! I wonder how many other drivers out here completely missed that!? But I didn’t and I was glad.
Simple things, like making it down the parkway and not getting a single red light, having someone say “thank you” for doing a part of my job, a chuckle of Facebook. Small graces that make our days fuller, richer, brighter.
That is what I am thankful for this year, every day.
What are the small graces that you are grateful for? What tiny happiness are you missing?