I’m sitting at McDonald’s as the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade blares behind me on the television. I drink my coffee. Look outside. And smile. I have so much to be thankful for.
The cost of gratitude
Today, I’m aware of the fact that life is better than I deserve. Which is saying something these days. The world is full of pain and suffering, hardship and turmoil. Disappointment and regret. So the fact that I can be thankful (and mean it) is, in its own way, a small miracle.
I’m learning there is a responsibility that comes with privilege. That I am blessed to bless. Gifted to give. I am not lucky, fortunate, or merely disciplined. I am expected. To do something with the grace I’ve been given.
And so are you.
When I was younger, I didn’t understand gratitude. In a universe that seemed to hurt for no reason, giving thanks felt disingenuous. Living in a world where children die of hunger every day, it just didn’t make sense.
But now I understand. Being grateful is a choice. So I made a list.
The gratitude list
Gratitude is not my natural disposition, so this took time and effort. It was a discipline to remind myself of the many reasons I have to be grateful. But it was an exercise well worth the discomfort.
Here’s my challenge to you:
Take some time today, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, to come up with a gratitude list. If it doesn’t come naturally, don’t let that stop you from still giving thanks. There is still much to be thankful for, if we only have eyes to see.
Here are my 10 reasons to give thanks today:
- I am thankful for my health, for being able to run half-marathons and eat turkey dinners.
- I am thankful for my wife, who vowed to be my biggest fan on the day we were married and has never once let me down.
- I am thankful for the gift and work of writing — that it is both extremely hard and easy at the same time. Easy to do, hard to master. Always frustrating. Always rewarding.
- I am extremely thankful for the online community of writers and readers who are making a difference in the world. You guys inspire me.
- I am thankful for living in a town full of creative minds and opportunities.
- I am thankful for doing work that matters and to my boss for responding to a random email from a stranger five years ago.
- I am thankful for music — bands like Mumford and Sons and Nirvana and the Beatles. Their words and music inspire me to create my own art.
- I am thankful for movies — for being able to turn part of my brain off and still be inspired.
- I am thankful for books — eBooks, audiobooks, children’s books, novels, and memoirs. My shelves are full of them, and they are my one, true lust.
- Lastly, and most importantly, I am thankful for Grace — for love that cannot be explained (only surrendered to), for a Creator that inspires creativity, for purpose and a hope that there is more to the story than we see.
Looking for a way to give thanks?
If you read this blog, you have already given me a gift. Thank you. As a token of my gratitude, please download this free eBook:
Get my free eBook Wrecked for the Ordinary: A Manifesto for Misfits by clicking here. (Right click and save as.)
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What’s on your gratitude list? Share in the comments.
*Photo credit: woodleywonderworks (Creative Commons)