November is a great time to write about gratitude. Although our neighbors to the north (Canadians) celebrate Thanksgiving in October, USA-Americans associate November with gratitude and thankfulness. It’s a great time to stop and think about what we have. Show and share your gratitude by recording your blessings for loved ones and future generations— write about gratitude. Write about the things for which you’re thankful and what they mean to you.
Stories of then and now
When we write about gratitude, nothing illustrates a point quite like juxtaposition. We can say we’re thankful for something, but it has more meaning to loved ones when they understand why we don’t take it for granted.
When I had the privilege of working at a Habitat site in New Orleans for a Katrina victim, the idea that he would be grateful for our efforts was kind of a “yeah…duh.” However, when we met him and heard him say he had never lived in a home with a working shower, we started to understand the depth of his gratitude. The humble home we were working on was more than a shelter. It was a dream come true.
Sharing such stories helps succeeding generations appreciate their own blessings more. Though I’ve never gone hungry for more than a few hours, knowing that putting food on the table wasn’t a given in my mother’s childhood home makes me appreciate what I have more.
Write about gratitude in a letter
Sometimes we have things to say to children and grandchildren that are difficult to put into words. Perhaps they are too young or they’re not at a point in their lives that they can understand. Sometimes it’s easier to write about gratitude and blessings than it is to verbalize our feelings.
Explain how you’re grateful for the joy they bring to your life or the strength they’ve shown. Alternatively, you can write about how they will one day be able to look at their situation with gratitude.
If you simply list the things for which you are grateful, the length of the list itself can be striking. You can prioritize the list or brainstorm free form.
Scrapbooking and Journaling
There will be more about this in the next post, but suffice it to say, “Gratitude” makes a great scrapbook title. You can adapt the list idea above for a journal or simply write whatever comes to mind. For some great ideas, see Cathy Zielske’s 30 days of Gratitude posts.
One versus Many
There are some points in life during which we’re simply overwhelmed by all the wonderful things in our lives. Other times, one single thing seems to stand out. There’s no right or wrong way to write about gratitude or for what you are thankful. If you” just passed a benchmark of being cancer free after years of dealing with the disease, that’s a story in itself. Which leads me to the next point.
Remarkable or Not
Years ago, having symptoms of forgetfulness and brain-fog, I had an MRI of my brain. I was incensed when the neurologist called me with the results: “Mrs. Hedgecock, your brain tissue is unremarkable.”
“That’s the point!” I nearly screamed through the phone. “Once upon a time my brain was remarkable!” He agreed that the term “unremarkable” was unfortunate, but unremarkable was good.
Many times, I go back to that moment. My life might appear to outsiders as unremarkable. Sometimes it even seems that way to me. But, I’ll take that. Unremarkable means no major health problems, financial problems, or heartaches. It means I’m happy.
You probably have your own ideas on how you would like to write about gratitude. Now’s the time. For what are you thankful?