Dr. Margaret Gratitude ChecklistI can remember my prayer as a child before going to bed.

“Bless Mommy and Daddy, Adam and Spencer and everybody else in the whole wide world.”

Sometimes I wanted to leave my brothers out. Like after the night they pulled me out of bed. Forced my eyes open to make me watch a particularly frightening episode of “Twilight Zone”. Terrible treatment of their always delightful little sister.

But they usually got included. My mother was listening. She wouldn’t have approved. Nor I guess would God for that matter. So they made the list.

As a child I was aware I was lucky. I had a vague sense the world around me was far worse off than my own.

Boy was I ever right.

I am even more grateful today.  For innumerable things. Both tangible and intangible.

This Thanksgiving, it’s not about what’s on the table. The silver polished or paper plates. The turkey fresh or fried. The dressing cornbread or potatoes mashed. The cranberry canned or homemade. Whether Aunt Sue is seated by Uncle Joe. Whether Aunt Sue even speaks to Uncle Joe.

All those details don’t matter.

I am thankful for many things this year. My gratitude checklist is simple. 9 Things.

Gratitude Checklist Dr Margaret1) My health. The health of those I love.

2) What is safe about our country and our culture.

3) The depth of my intimate relationships.

4) The simple things that give me joy.

5) Laughter.

6) The work I get to do every day.

7) Feeling a purpose in life.

8) Trying to have integrity.

9) Always looking for courage.

I am grateful to fate, to others, to life that I am able to have these on my checklist. Try and connect with them every day.

I hear about cruelty, about abuse, in my work. People who grew up with very little to be grateful for. Or have been through something that was traumatic. They have suffered tremendously. Now they are confronting those things. Coping with loss. Dealing with mental illness. With courage.

I know it can be done.

Gratitude can be a part of it.

Being grateful for today. Knowing that’s all we have.

 

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