GUEST POST: A Story of Gratitude

“ I made up my mind to never have another bad day in my life. I dove into and endless sea of gratitude from which I’ve never emerged.” 

-Patch Adams

How do you choose to see your cup: half empty or half full?  Studies tell us that pessimists see their cup as half empty, but the optimists see it as half full. Whenever I am asked this question, I always choose half full because I side with the optimists. Well, I try my hardest to. I choose to see what’s there in my cup, rather than what is not. Who do you side with?

I think the analogy of the cup is a good reminder for us, especially in regards to gratitude.  Gratitude is simply: to be thankful. Being that it is now the month of November, I know many of us are posting what we are thankful for and making an extra effort to be full of gratitude, but do we really understand what this looks like? How are we showing gratitude towards others? How are we choosing to see our cup every day? Are we full of optimism or complaints?

I know that I try really hard to be optimistic each day, but my pessimistic bones can get the best of me at times; it takes intentional effort to redirect my thoughts and focus on what I should be thankful for.

Recently, I experienced the reality of gratitude first hand and have seen what it looks like in a large group of people. Actions have always spoken louder than words for me, so to see people displaying it under difficult circumstances was a tremendous example for my own life.

Back in September, there was a massive fire that took place in Napa County. The fire burned down hundreds of homes and left people with absolutely nothing. No homes, no belongings, and no jobs. It was heartbreaking for me to watch the scenes on the news and read the stories of the victims. I felt called to drive up to the Napa County area and volunteer at this campsite where the victims were temporarily placed. I donated everything I could collect and volunteered for the day.

When I walked through the gates, I felt a sense of peace and joy.  The community was thriving with volunteers and people who were supporting each other. The biggest thing that stood out to me was that everyone was smiling.

I remember thinking to myself, “Why are they all so happy?”

The children were riding bikes together, adults were playing cards, women were singing, and everyone was helping in some way. During the dinner service, I was able to speak to a few of the victims. What surprised me the most was the positivity that filled their spirits. Not one of them had a single complaint. They were filled with hope; they were thankful for the volunteers, warm meals, and clean water. Each of them chose to see their cups half full though they really had nothing in their cups at all.

It was all about having gratitude, choosing to be thankful for what they did have, and valuing all of those things. It’s easy to complain and wish we had more money, more things, or about traffic on our commutes home. We wish that we weren’t so tired, that the weekends were longer, and summer came sooner. Sure, we can all wish for those things, but they rob us of our gratitude and take the focus off of what we do have that we should be thankful for.

May I encourage all of you to wake up tomorrow with a new spirit of gratitude. To stop and think about your half full cups before you focus on what is not there.

May you choose to dive into your own sea of gratitude and never, ever emerge, for it truly is a wonderful thing!

May your glass always be half full!

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