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Thanks for What?

     Lots of things not to be thankful for. Guy cut you off at the light. Everyone's property tax bill but yours went down. Rabbits ate your chrysanthemums. More seriously, no job yet; friend's diagnosed with cancer; son's flunking algebra.

     But wait! Teri's fiftieth's coming up and she's hale and hearty. Turkey day's here and the whole family's coming to enjoy the cranberry sauce. Friend's cancer was caught in time to treat it successfully. And did you see tha tburnished gold sliver of a moon last night?

     Another thing to be grateful for – it isn't time to address the Christmas cards yet. So there's plenty of time to relax and think about thanking. Which they say, is a very good thing. Way back when I was home after having my cancer taken out of my innards I read an article by Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden. Following their suggestions helped me sleep at night when it hurt so to turn over and lie on my other side.

     These two doctors claimed that people who "cultivate gratitude, optimism and happiness live longer than grumpy pessimists." Isn't that redundant? Grumpy pessimists? Oh, well… But then they said, "Even curmudgeons can become beacons of optimism." Might be a bit overly optimistic on their part...

     Kind'a made me wonder, who wants to live a long life if it's all grumpy? If that's the way you are, you prob'ly don't want to stick around for a hundred years anyway. Plus we'll be happier without -

     Uh-oh. Erase that. I didn't say that. Getting back to the point… If you're one of those grumps, there's hope. If you follow the advice of a third doctor, "one of the leading gratitude researchers in the country" – Wait a minute. Gratitude researcher? Boy, there sure are a lot of occupations I never heard of. But if they say so…

     This third doctor the other two referred to is a Dr. Robert Emmons. He suggests some gratitude practices to "follow faithfully" and says if you do and you're a grump, you'll become "grateful in no time."

     I set that article on the nightstand by my bed. I wasn't feeling particularly grateful and being naturally lazy I didn't write it all down in a journal like I was supposed to, but mentally I went back over the day and thought of good things that happened. It took a while, but then I remembered that three of my friends had stopped by that morning. A few minutes later I remembered that food tasted good today - for the first time since my surgery. Suddenly grateful thoughts came rolling in: what a beautiful Thanksgiving arrangement Donna brought! Rol was so helpful all day; I was able to walk around the house three times instead of two.

     Another way the gratitude researcher said to achieve gratefulness was to use your senses more to take in the small things – your first smell of coffee in the morning, the smile of a child, the roll of thunder…

     And what better time to practice gratefulness than Thanksgiving Day? The smell of turkey roasting; the sounds of the family chattering about whatever your family chatters about; the feel of the cold crisp air that slams against your face when you step outside…the small things. Or the day after Thanksgiving, when you've cleaned up the kitchen and are enjoying the leftovers. Or better yet, getting up at the crack of dawn to shop on Black Friday!

     Like I said, there area lot of things not to be thankful for. But there's plenty to be thankful for, too, so why not?

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