Sometimes a phrase that has become outdated or overuse needs to be revisited and considered afresh. One such phrase is the old and often-spoken "cultivate an attitude of gratitude." It rolls off the tongue a little too easily, sounds pat and perhaps a bit flippant. However, that doesn't make it less true. It is lovely to set aside a day to be thankful (in my case, to God), to join with others -- friends and/or family -- to delight in fellowship and good food, but that shouldn't be the only time we think about gratitude (not that everyone thinks about gratitude just because the holiday is called Thanksgiving).
I think that "attitude of gratitude" is a vital way to deal with the world. It is an outlook that says, "My glass is always half full." It is, in fact, a life-saver. Science increasingly shows that a positive attitude helps one stay healthier and, when disease does strike, improves the likelihood of recovery. It is just one more way in which we see that the things we are "supposed to do" are, in fact, a reflection of how the world really works, and not just arbitrary rules. We should be grateful -- always. We are alive, the sun comes up every day, the world is incredibly beautiful, there are people we can connect with, and most of us live better than even the royalty of old, with indoor toilets, running water, deoderant, heat, A/C, antibiotics, cars, and the freedom to pick the careers we wish. Even words are a gift of incredible value. I love writing so much that I sometimes have to get up and dance around, to expend some of the extra energy the joy of writing generates. I am so grateful that I get to do this.
Of course, our gratitude should also make us aware of those who have less, and motivate us to do what we can to improve the conditions of those who are not free, who do not have food, who cannot read. Yet even for this we can be grateful -- that we have the opportunity to serve, to touch lives. Because ultimately, isn't that what we as writers desire to do -- to reach out, to touch others, to teach, to spark ideas and maybe change?
There is so much good in this world that, even when times are hard, we should be able to find something that can make us smile and say, "for this, I am truly grateful."
Causes Cynthia Clampitt Supports
Feed the Hungry, Project Angel Tree, Wheels for the World, Feed the Poor