Gratitude is a Verb…

grat·i·tude
grat-i-tood, -tyood]

NOUN
   1. the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful

Okay, so Merriam-Webster, Oxford and Dictionary.com all say that gratitude is a noun.  Of course, they also say that about love and we all have heard the argument that love is really a verb.  I feel the same way about gratitude and although the grammar police might come after me for that, it’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Today, February 23rd, is Gratitude Day in my corner of the world.  No, it’s not a National Holiday, in fact there’s a day in September that is officially celebrated as World Gratitude Day, but, because of some really courageous people this day in February is a day set aside to remember that to be grateful is not a feeling but a choice.

You see, almost 10 years ago some friends lost their precious daughter Amelia and her grandmother in a tragic auto accident.  It was the kind of devastation that easily could have torn a family apart but instead, they chose gratitude; they chose it even when they didn’t feel it, even when it was hard; even when it seemed to be nearly impossible.

In my friend’s words from two years ago:

Gratitude Day was born out of the desire and need to focus on the good. My family was devastated by the loss of our daughter (and sister), Amelia in a car accident. My husband also lost his mother in that accident. His mom was 69, and Amelia was seven. They both left this earth before we were ready.

It has almost been eight years, and I have become a willing counselor to other families who have lost their children. When something tragic like this happens, you think, “that happens on the news to other people”. Now I know, it happens to my friends, my neighbors, my community.

So Gratitude Day is for everyone, not just us. It is a day to be thankful we had our beautiful children in our lives. It is a day to also remember we have many blessings. Love, good health, friends, spiritual strength, the blessing of good memories, and the faith that there are many good days to come.”

Amelia would be 17 years old today.  I know that she is proud of the example that her family and those who love her have set.

I have so much to be grateful for.  I wouldn’t even know where to start.  Today I am grateful for these courageous people who have chosen gratitude and set an example that is an inspiration to so many.

Happy Gratitude Day!

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Perspective…

BC Greenbelt 8-17-13_01
The other day a friend of mine posted on his Facebook wall the following status:

__________________ + Gratitude = _____________________.

He got a variety of responses; some were meant to be funny, some were more thoughtful.  The first thing that popped into my head was “perspective”.  It seems to me that regardless of the circumstance — sadness, fear, pain, fatigue, you name it — adding gratitude into the mix brings a new and I would argue, better perspective.

I have come to believe that what I focus on grows.  If I choose to focus on anger then it will grow; if I choose to focus on gratitude, regardless of my circumstances, gratitude will grow.  Since starting this blog I have become more intentional about looking for things to be grateful for.  I won’t lie; some days it’s hard.  Some days I’m so busy or tired or afraid or…it’s hard to choose to focus on gratitude.  But I have to remember that it is a choice; my choice.  Seems to me that if I can think about it that way it becomes a no-brainer.  Choose to be angry?  Choose to be afraid?  Choose to be grateful?  Choose joy?  When I think of it that way there is no choice really.

Does choosing to live a grateful life make everything all better?  No, not even close.  But adding gratitude to the mix changes my perspective every time and it does make a difference.  So, what will you choose?

Namaste…