It#039;s important to keep an attitude of gratitude

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Have you ever noticed how some people seem permanently stuck in a state of dissatisfaction with their lot in life? For them, the grass is, in fact, always greener on the other side and the glass is perpetually half-empty. Life is filled with "if only", "how come" and "why me"?

Discontent eventually marks their faces as indelibly as a tattoo. The best plastic surgeon in the world couldn't quite manage to smooth away what years of ingratitude and anger have sculpted.

It's not a pretty picture, is it? And that's just the outside. All that unhappiness winds up doing some unpleasant things to one's insides, too. Now, it is a fact that good, kind, contented people get sick and battle chronic illnesses just as the grumpy, discontented ones do. (But the nice ones don't tend to make everyone else feel rotten along with them.)

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What these people have never discovered is the importance of an attitude of gratitude.

It's true that life isn't fair; tragedy and trouble befall the good and, sometimes, the evil do literally get away with murder.

But there is always something to be thankful for in this fallen world. When you can see and be grateful for what is good, kind, pure and lovely in life then surely some of it flows back to you.

This weekend my husband and I gazed up into a starry canopy and watched a fantastic meteor shower, the likes of which we won't see again for nearly 100 years. I felt a sense of wonder and breathed a quiet "thank you" to the Creator. There's a lot of beauty to admire in this world if we open our eyes (and stay awake).

I was glad, too, that I shared that moment with someone dear to me, a special memory we can share long years from now. What a good thing it is to have family!

Today I partook of a lavish covered dish meal at my church. Dishes of all sorts covered the bar, more than even the large crowd of hearty eaters assembled could manage to put away. (It's a good thing for our cholesterol levels we don't eat like that every day.)

Yet, even if we typically eat PB and J sandwiches instead of turkey and dressing, how many of us really go hungry? We still live in a land of plenty compared to so many people in this world, something for which we should all be thankful.

Tonight, my cat snuggles beside me as I stroke her soft fur, admire the beauty of her coloring and listen to her unique chugging' purr. She's been part of our lives for a dozen years. She is a funny, sweet creature who may not be terribly bright but is so full of affection. Pets can bring a lot of fun, companionship and a welcome dose of unconditional love and those of us who love them can all say, "thank you" to our four-legged friends.

There's so much more to consider if we only take the time to stop and be grateful.

To paraphrase a saying I've seen recently, "I don't have it all together (and never will) but with my family, my friends and my faith I can say I have it all."

What's true, good and lovely in your own life? I invite you to build your own attitude of gratitude today. Then Thanksgiving won't be a single day but a way of life. Happy Thanksgiving!