Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Turn Thanksgiving into Gratitude Day

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for November 22, 2017)

When something has been around a long time, it's easy to take it for granted and stop seeing it. Sometimes you need to look at familiar things in a new way; from a different perspective. If you don't like what you see, you can always go back to overlooking it again.

Maybe it's time to change your perspective on the day called Thanksgiving. The word "thanksgiving" has come to mean-- to most people-- turkey, big meals, and football, with any actual thanks being given as almost an afterthought.

It doesn't have to be that way.

If this is your case and you want out of your rut, think of it not as Thanksgiving day, but as Gratitude Day. A day to be grateful and show your gratitude.

Someone deserves your gratitude. Whether it's gratitude expressed to God or to a person in your life, say it and, more importantly, act on it.

Don't limit your gratitude to the things you think of first when you consider the things you appreciate. Even the thorns in our lives may have a rose if we take time and make the effort to see it. If you look and there's no rose, the thorns could probably be worse. Someone, somewhere, is suffering worse thorns than you. Be thankful you aren't that guy, if for nothing else.

Be grateful to, and for, the family and friends who surround you. If you can, tell them.

Some people aren't comfortable expressing gratitude. It's not my place to judge them for it because I'm sometimes in the same shoes. Don't let yourself be shamed into public expressions of gratitude if you aren't feeling it; it won't be real. Perhaps, when the time is right, it will come. Any day can be Gratitude Day, but for everything there is a last chance.

I'm not going to fault those who are content with the way Thanksgiving day has changed in recent decades. We all find our enjoyment where we can. There is a lot of good to be found in spending the day with whoever you like, doing whatever you want. If you are bothered by the way you've spent the day in recent years, change it. Don't demand others change what works for them just because you think they should be doing something else.

Thank you for reading these columns. I am grateful to have the chance to share them with you.

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