“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus
I like Sundays. Sunday can be a nice time to reflect on one’s life and get spiritual, and one of my favorite spiritual pursuits is giving thanks!
There was a time in my life when I was like so many people I know: I’m getting old and feeble and grumbling that my body ached too much; I didn’t have enough money–I couldn’t go on the vacation I wanted to go on; I had too few friends, the government was out to get me and thinking only of their own greedy selves; It’s winter and cold outside: why couldn’t I have been born in a warmer climate? My neighbor makes too much noise at night … and I could go on and on, as often I used to do. My life was just one misery after another.
I watched other people, and they didn’t seem to have the problems I had. For example, I noticed that Gus, just two houses over from me, was making the very same wage that I was making ( know, because he works at the same company I worked at), yet he seemed quite content with his lot. His kids were well adjusted and did well at school. I was making twice the visits to my doctor than Murphy was–and Murphy was even handicapped! Why, I asked. Why? What was the difference between Gus, Murphy and myself?
I decided to do some investigating and found that the one big difference between us was, they gave thanks for what they had. They were grateful–not because they knew folks who had even less than they had, or even worse handicapped than Murphy was, so they felt it was their duty to be grateful, but they were just … well, Grateful for what they already had! And there lies the big difference. They weren’t grateful because they were happy, but it was gratitude that made them happy.
I decided to try it for myself. I created a special “Gratitude” file on my computer and made a goal of finding 10 things in my daily life that I was grateful for. Not only did I try to find 10 items, but also write a paragraph on each item as to why that certain event or thing made me happy. That was the hard part, because it made me really dwell on why I was grateful for that certain event or thing. At first, it was hard. Having been conditioned for so long to think of only negative things in my life, I really had to “dig” to find 10 items or events in my life that made me happy, let alone write a paragraph on each item as to why. But, I was determined, and after a couple weeks, it actually became easy. And, to my surprise, I found that I was becoming happier!
I found that happiness and laughter are one of the best cures for ill health. Be happy and have a positive outlook on life and it’s hard to be sick. I began to enjoy life. Suddenly it didn’t matter that I couldn’t go on that special dream holiday I always wanted to go on. We have a wonderful patio in our back yard and my wife can make the best potato salad that I’ve ever eaten, and I love to barbeque. Even the children are now looking forward to the cool evenings on our patio deck, and even enjoy our sing-alongs to the our “Golden Oldies.” We’ve even invited Gus and Murphy over a couple times to join us in enjoying our new-found Gratitude!
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”
― Alphonse Karr,