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Things to express heart-felt gratitude

Almost every Thanksgiving, with less regularity than I think it deserves, I take some time out to express what I’m grateful for.

For me it’s sort of like praying in public at a church service: I know what I want to say, it’s just that sometimes my thoughts get me tongue-tied and end up just sort of stumbling along. I suppose not doing it as regular as I could do it is because I always draw on those things that are most important in my life.

This year I missed sharing these gratitude thoughts in late November.  But since I have this forum now, I thought Christmas would be a more than appropriate time to share some of the things I’m thankful for.

Yes, this is the “peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men” moment. I’ll begin by taking a turn expressing gratitude for family, friends, faith, country, freedom, health, happiness and the like.

Just so you don’t think I’m being dismissive: I’m thankful for those things too. Deeply thankful, in fact.

But what about those things we don’t include on such lists? What about the mundane? The common? The usual? The overlooked? The unconventional?

Sure, I’m grateful for things like toilet paper, air conditioning, mosquito repellant, glass windows and windshields, cereal in a bowl (and holding it up to drain down the leftover milk!), that same bowl and other utensils, and finally soap and deodorant – for some pretty obvious reasons.

Our happiness depends on our ability to feel and express gratitude. The more grateful we are, in fact, the deeper our happiness will run.

So after I got beyond those things I thought I would put together my little laundry list of some other things I’m grateful for:

– A chance to tell someone that you love them; if not through speech, through deed…

– Cheering for my favorite team like a crazed maniac when no one is looking, which would otherwise mean you were embarrassing yourself (your “prideful” self!)…

– Being passionate about something, anything; just to know there are things in this world that you can believe in, or defend yourself over if there’re things you don’t…

– Breaking barriers by learning something new about someone you thought you knew everything about, even when you never even bothered to crack your lips to say ‘Hello’.  It’s there; you just have to trip over it…

– Overcoming fear, or at least facing it; not being afraid to say, “Yeah, I’m scared. And I don’t mind telling you I’m scared.”…

– Happy to be surrounded by people who I think really live lives of true character, and don’t even know it…

– Hugs, because I’m a hugger and because a life without hugs would be a lonely life to me. There are certain people you just need to hug and need hugs from. Hug-less lives seem to be empty lives in some way so go hug somebody and be thankful you can put your arms around them, and theirs around you…

– You, for taking the time to read this…

– And finally, I’m grateful for me; because God didn’t have to put me here; but I’m so damn glad he did…

I think there’s a difference between being grateful for something and being a grateful person. The more we look around us and truly feel grateful for all the amazing blessings that make up our daily lives, the happier life will be.

Merry Christmas, everybody, no matter how you celebrate it, and God Bless.

 Gene Motley is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at gene.motley@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7211.