This word is for all of us, with a special wink and a nod to the generous soul who reminded me in a very tangible way, that it’s not only what we do in the world that has value. It’s also simply and purely who we are and what example we offer up.
Gratitude is several steps beyond remembering to say “Thank you.” More than just a way of being polite, it’s a way of moving through your life. The best way to express your gratitude is to live it every day. Every moment if you can. Begin the day with gratitude. End the day with gratitude. Be grateful for the challenges that are laid in your path as well as the ease and joy. Remember the old saw about the man who pitied himself for having no shoes, until he met a man who had no feet. Be grateful for the shoes and the feet and the legs and the ability to move them. If you don’t have it all, be grateful for whatever you do have. Speak your gratitude out loud or silently. “I am grateful for this rainy day, for it fills our lakes and reservoirs. I am grateful for the speeding ticket, for it reminds me that I am racing through life at a dangerous speed. I am grateful that my son is too sick to go to school, for it shows me what a gift it is to stay home with him.” Gratitude is not after the fact. Live a life of gratitude first — and then be grateful for everything that follows.
Excerpted from 365 Words of Well-Being for Mothers (McGraw-Hill, 2002), by Rachel Snyder. This book is currently out-of-print, although used and imperfect copies may be found on the Internet.