The Canadian Thanksgiving yesterday prompted me to think about gratitude. The self-help and new age gurus tell us we need to express our gratitude daily – write it down, maybe five things we are grateful for. Period. Well, I do a different take on it. Yes, I do a daily gratitude expression of what I’m thankful for, but I also add what I’m not grateful for in my life. I need to get that balance – life is not all good; neither is it all bad. I need to deal in reality. Blame it on my journalist background where you try to be unbiased and get a balance in your stories – unless you’re writing an Op-Ed (Opinion-Editorial) piece. Or it probably goes back to my childhood, to my mother, with her somewhat offbeat take on honesty.
In my memoir I have a chapter called “Mom’s Ten Rules of Honesty” and after I go through that I add:
Mother’s honesty didn’t just encompass telling the truth; it covered people’s basic integrity and how they dealt with the screw-ups, bad times and bad luck that always pop up in life. Nothing is certain except taxes and death, but the trick is to wind yourself through the days, months and years until you die – without falling into the muddy waters.
(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2010 Sharon Crawford)
Or it could also spin off from my grade 6 teacher who told us, “I’ll give credit where credit is due.” Over the years I’ve added “and discredit where discredit is due.”
Now I can hear some of you thinking, “Why doesn’t she just accept what is?” That is good to a certain point. However, if we all accepted everything in our life then certain big changes would never happen. For example, what would have happened (or not) if Terry Fox merely accepted he had cancer in his leg and left it at that? What if he didn’t take his cancer a big leap forward and start his walk for cancer research? Just doing the proverbial lying down and accepting our conditions in life and doing nothing about them doesn’t help us or others. Methinks if we do that we often end up ranting and complaining about our plight in life.
Of course we can’t go out and try to change everthing. The key may be the old serenity prayer which goes something like this – God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I don’t read anything here about accepting everything.
And so I do my gratitude/non-gratitude list daily. And I do work to change what I can in the latter. But sometimes it is a long road getting there.
What do others think?
Only Child Writes