It's November. The time when harvests are past. The leaves have turned and are falling, leaving the trees barren and sleeping until spring. The grass is littered with them, like sprinkles on a cupcake. The days are short and crisp with the cool air. The sun glistens like light on glitter as it pokes over the hills and shines upon the frozen dew covering the ground like a blanket each morning. The sandals and shorts have been replaced with long pants and hooded sweatshirts. It's not time for the heavy coats yet. Soon, but not yet.
It's also the time of Thanksgiving. An American tradition. A time to give thanks for all of our blessings and good fortunes. A time for reflection.
One word can mean so much. This single word has the ability to change hearts. Change attitudes. Change people. It can turn enemies into friends and heal offenses. It can soften the heart of the hardest soul. It can unify and strengthen relationships. It has the ability to bind up our broken hearts and wounded souls. So much power lies in those nine little letters.
But there is a secret attached to this word. It is a magic word. But only if used often. Those who have discovered this secret have found the key to true happiness and joy. Also - contentment, peace, acceptance, friendship, belonging, and healing.
"Gratitude is a positive experience that comes from recognizing gifts or blessings and feeling thankful. It is also an attitude, a way of perceiving life, in which individuals are willing to receive and acknowledge the beneficial actions of others on their behalf. Those who consistently display such an attitude are said to have a grateful disposition. Gratitude is also a habit that can be cultivated, causing one to focus on the blessings of life. Finally, gratitude can be defined as a coping response to challenging or difficult circumstances." (Vaughn E. Worthen, PH.D.)
Not only is gratitude a positive experience, it can help us to BE positive. When we are positive, we are happy. When we are happy, we are in a position to succeed. When we succeed with an attitude of gratitude, we naturally want to reach out and help others to also succeed. It is infectious. It benefits us as well as those around us. That's why it is magic. It has the power to transform the minds and hearts of every person on this earth. If only humanity could truly understand this. Our world would be a much different place to live. Can you imagine? What it would be like if everyone invested more time into being grateful... instead... of hateful?
Today. This afternoon, actually... I am grateful for modern medicine that helps me sleep and breathe, a soft couch to rest on, and a kind employer who let me stay home to get well - among so MANY more things that I am truly grateful for.