I remember several years ago watching Oprah and her guest introduced the idea of keeping a gratitude journal. Her message was simple – write in a journal every day five things for which you are grateful. Then throughout the season, Oprah talked about her gratitude journal and how it had changed her life. I remember thinking this was a bunch of nonsense – not the idea that each of us have many things for which we should be grateful, but that each day we should make time to write down five things in a journal dedicated to gratefulness.
I’m still not convinced of the need to keep a gratitude journal, but I do think I, like most, take for granted the many blessings in my life. I think I’ve become more aware of these blessings due to the hardships I see others facing. Friends dealing with the serious illnesses of family members, the many people in Ocala looking for jobs, students I teach dealing with the challenges of raising children while going to school and still living as a child themselves in the homes of their parents. And of course if you watch any world news you see people suffering through natural disasters or wars or famine. It’s hard to imagine the hardships others face on a daily basis. Since volunteering at the Tuesday morning outreach program at church, I’ve met many who struggle daily and remembering their stories helps me think about my own blessings.
In the World Geography class I teach there’s an activity called A Village of 100 People. It takes the world’s population of seven billion and shrinks it to 100 to help students see the ratios and the make up of the people of the world. For example, 57 of the 100 would be Asian and 52 would be women, but some of the statistics are pretty shocking: 80 would live in substandard housing, 70 would be unable to read, 50 would suffer from malnutrition, 1 would have a college education, and 1 would own a computer-unbelievable. Statistics like these help me realize I live a truly blessed life.
Hopefully, you’ll take some time to count your blessings. If you go back to the idea of thinking of five things for which you’re grateful every day, you should always be able to name a few basics: your health, your family, your friends (of course, there are more if you name each of these people individually), your job, your home, good food, a comfortable bed, and some days a sigh with “I made it through the day!” But, there are many other things as well. So take time to count your blessings. I’ve found this to be a good way to end the day. When I lay down in bed, I close my eyes, take a few deep breaths to start unwinding and think of things for which I’m thankful. Even though I usually name the basics, I also think of things which brought a smile to my face during the day and I can’t think of a better way to end the day.
I’m certainly blessed to be your mom so without much effort I name three blessings each night. Life is good! Count your blessings!