Tis the season of Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season. The rush of excitement and anticipation of this wondrous time has for me and perhaps even many of you, felt a little different this year. It is easy to get lost in the idea of what these holidays and events of tradition won’t be, who we won’t gather with, and where we won’t be traveling to. The foundation of gratitude does not only lie in the American Thanksgiving, but also in many different religions around the globe. Through sacrificial offerings, reciting prayers of thanks, and participating in the traditional Christian Eucharist of bread and wine, humans have been practicing the concept of gratitude since ancient times. I figure if the practice of gratitude has been going on this long, there just might be something to it. What is gratitude and what are the benefits? The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia; meaning graciousness, gratefulness, or grace. The practice of gratitude is a conscious effort to show an appreciation for the tangible and intangible things in our lives. There are two steps in this practice. First is acknowledging what we are grateful for and secondly realizing the source or sources we can attribute this feeling of gratitude to. Much of the goodness in which we find this spirit of thankfulness comes from a place outside of ourselves. It is in this powerful step that we feel connected to something greater and are more fully able to see the goodness in which we are constantly surrounded by. Almost nightly for the past 15 years, my best friend and I have texted one another the High’s and Low’s of our days for a quick and often entertaining recap. In the spirit of Covid, this spring we decided to change it. Now we send a nightly text to one another that instead includes the blessings of our day. They are often simple joys we share with one another, but I find in this small act of thinking about these blessings, writing them down, and also sharing them with a friend has been a great way to help me feel more connected and present to the many things I have to be grateful for. This November, I encourage you to start a conversation of gratitude with someone in your life. We all need a reminder, maybe now more than ever that we are surrounded by goodness, we must only look for it.
Written by: Amanda D. Cullison
"The Light at the End of the Tunnel" Photo credit: Larry Cunningham