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Friday, November 22, 2013

Gratitude in Action

Rachael Brugger
Sr. Associate Web Editor

What if the question around holiday tables wasn’t

This time of year, there’s a lot of focus on what we’re thankful for in life—on our blessings. The call to give thanks is blasted on commercial jingles and plastered across greeting cards. Many of my Facebook friends’ timelines are filled daily gratitudes counting down to Thanksgiving Day. And if your homestead is like mine, you’re frantically trying to decide whether to try out new recipes for the turkey-day dinner or stick to old favorites, all the while grateful that no matter what ends up on the table at the end of the day, your belly will be full.

While the things listed above might be trivial in and of themselves, the reminder to give thanks is definitely a welcomed act. Greed is often found infiltrating our lives—motivating actions that lead to dead ends—but I relish this time of year because there’s much positive energy that flows out of the focus on gratitude.

By counting our blessings, we’re free to make mistakes and know that at the end of the day, we’re still doing pretty OK. We’re encouraged to take risks and go out on a limb for others because we’ve already been gifted the things we need to keep ourselves going. It’s interesting that we’ll go around the table and give thanks for the good in our lives, but not act upon those blessings. Take a look at those around you who are truly living in a spirit of gratitude. Do you see a difference in their demeanor? In the way they act? Has your world been impacted by their decision to live out their gratitude?

As I ponder Ann Voskamp’s question "How are you changing the world because you are so grateful?” a picture of one particular person comes to mind. Jessica and her husband are going through a rough patch. Despite her husband’s recent lay-off, forcing them to live tightly on her part-time income, Jessica hasn’t let her attitude of thanksgiving dwindle. She takes life day by day and lives out her gratitude by serving those less fortunate than she. She is continuously giving away produce from her garden to help the hungry in her community, and no matter what life throws at her on a particular day, she always has a smile on her face. She doesn’t drown in her losses, but gets energy from the good in her life and is constantly knee deep in a project to help make her community a better place for all to live.

There’s no doubt that all of us, like Jessica, go through our rough patches. Despite that, we’re still here and there’s still a life to live. This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to not only share what you’re thankful for but to use those blessings to make a difference in the life of another person.

A friend of mine once said, "Gratitude is magical.” She might just be right. If we all make a point to live out our gratitude in even a small way, we can easily make the world a more magical place.

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