The Word Gratitude


Gratitude. I keep running across this word. Be grateful. Practice gratitude. It’s the only way to happiness and inner peace.

The problem I have is not with gratitude itself. The problem I have is that the word has become cliché, its power and meaning shrunk down to a nicety. Be nice. Be grateful.

Since I do not like to use clichés, words and phrases that have lost weight to the point of anorexia, I will talk about thankfulness.

In order to fully feel thankfulness, a dose of sorrow is required, sorrow that has lodged itself firmly in our bones, sorrow that stands in our minds like a tall clock with a quiet tick. With age, time seems to speed up. The ticking loudens. And, as our sorrows increase, so does thankfulness.

Often I tell my boys to say “Thank You.”  But thankfulness is not taught. Thankfulness is accumulated.

As always, I am thankful for my boys. If there was nothing else in my life, they would be enough. But, I’m always getting bonuses like these:

The other night, the sky was smooth and clear and the stars were near, plumped and glittering like Christmas lights above my head.

In the alley there is a stringy, leafless plant. The stem is lavender and bends over as if in prayer.

I walked my dog, Betty, to the Mississippi where hundreds of ducks had peacefully gathered until we showed up. Then they flew. They all flew. They rose up and scattered.

And then there’s Betty, the rescue dog from Kentucky, the rescue dog that saves me every  single day.

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