For many years now, I have been writing stories on gratitude. Writing appeals to me, but gratitude appeals to me more. I didn’t always live in the state of gratitude – noticing all that I have and being grateful for it. It took time for this awareness to take over my life.
Like many people, I took everything for granted. I didn’t realize how fortunate I was. I simply thought everyone had many things in their lives just like me and it was no big deal!
For the past sixteen years I have been a “homestay” mom to students from all over the world who come to America to learn English. I started learning about life in other countries. I began to realize how insulated I have been from the dangers and inconveniences others have to deal with on a daily basis. If I am hungry, I can get in my car and either go to a restaurant or go to the grocery store. I don’t have to worry about where my next meal will come from. I don’t have to chop wood and burn it every time I am cold. All I have to do is turn up the furnace and the heat goes on.
I’ve listened as students have told me stories about hiding under their beds as the police shoot and kill bad men who have gotten into their homes. I listened. I thought long and hard about how lucky I am and how grateful I am to be living in America in my safe community, in my safe home. I began to make a habit of noticing everything in my life that made it better. I began to feel grateful for all the little things and the big things that impact me so profoundly and make my life so easy. I am grateful every time the motion sensor turns a light on for me to light my way into my house. I am grateful for my furnace that heats the oil to keep me warm. I am grateful for all the appliances and the car that help me live life with ease. I am grateful for each new day that allows me to begin again.
The practice of gratitude takes time, but it is something that will change your life. Start small, simply say: thank you tomorrow morning when you open your eyes. Appreciate the sun as it streams through your window, and that first delicious cup of coffee to start your day. Just notice everything and say: thank you. This simple practice will bring you much joy and strength.