As I write, the sun is lowering in a brilliant autumn sky. Out my office window, I can see two of our trees, still fully leafed but vibrant in their orange-red fall color. Under them my rose garden is blooming vigorously--rose, pink, and magnolia white all within sight. My cat purrs on my lap, soft music hums in the background, and my husband is in the kitchen doing early prep work for our dinner. It's a nearly perfect November day. In this season of Thanksgiving, it's important to remember and appreciate days like this.
Many of my friends are practicing the art of the gratitude journal. Although I haven't been keeping the record, I try every day to recount the gifts that particular day has given me; I try to be grateful, to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
Sometimes that can be difficult. Also as I write, only a week has passed since the terror incident in Paris. Mali terror is only a few days in the past. Syrian refugees are pouring over the borders of almost every nation, economic indicators are unstable, and presidential candidates are screaming at each other. On a more personal note, I have a niece lying in the hospital, hoping to save her baby in a high-risk pregnancy. Sources for worry and discouragement are easy to find.
Then again, they always have been, As we look back on any golden, romanticized period in human history, we find the problems hidden behind the image. The nature of the challenges may have changed over time, but every generation has faced its own struggles. And every generation has been happier when it focused instead on the gifts of each day.
Am I good at always being grateful? Nope. Would that I were! But as I grow older, I realize that worry accomplishes little (if anything at all) and discouragement keeps me from accomplishing much of anything. I feel better, do better, and enjoy my life more when I remember what a much younger friend has already learned: "There's always, always, always something to be grateful for."
I want to remember that--not just this coming week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, but every single day.
Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 published novels and has a part in several boxed sets as well, all titles available now. Mother to seven, she is "gramma" to 24. She lives in northern California with her husband of 45 years and the two spoiled cats they serve. She loves hearing from readers @SusanAylworth, at www.susanaylworth.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.