Gratitude and the Spirit of Thanksgiving
When I was a boy growing up there was a hymn that I learned in church. The song was about counting blessings. There was a simplicity in both the melody and the words and the refrain went like this:
“Count your many blessings name them one by one.
Count your many blessings see what God has done.
Count your blessings. Name them one by one.
Count your many blessing see what God has done.”
The beat slowed when you sang the part “name … them … one … by … one” as if to emphasize that the exercise of naming and listing was as important as the list itself.
This to me this – naming blessings one by one – is the lost concept of gratitude.
It goes beyond the art of being thankful in a general way. Everyone can do that. Thankfulness has become more of a courtesy than a sincere expression of appreciation.
Thanks! Thanks alot! Thank y0u! Thank you soooo much!
Today is Thanksgiving Day. We focus on what we’re thankful for. So I started counting those things I am thankful for. I started counting my blessings. Whoa! It was a long list. And as I turned the page on the list I sensed that I hadn’t even scratch the surface. There was so much to be thankful for … so many blessings. The list got so long I got tired. So I watched football (which was also on my list!).
This is a great exercise. I encourage you to try it. Really. Get a piece of paper and pencil and start making a list. If you get stuck, get up and walk around. Look. Go online. Check email. Check Facebook. Talk to a friend or neighbor. Be creative.
Try thinking of blessings that you have (and take for granted) every day. Go from the most esoteric to the mundane.
Sound boring? What if I told you that doing this will actually make you healthier and have better sex? Do I have your attention now? Well according to a report in the New York Times:
Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.
So count your blessings. Name them one by one. There’s so much there. We just don’t take time to see it.
Be healthy. Be kind. Be romantic.