A writer friend, Dee Ready, has kept a gratitude journal for more than 20 years. When she was diagnosed with sight-threatening eye problems, she realized she’d never once written that she was grateful for her sight. Knowing Dee, her oversight is due to her vast appreciation for her family and friends, good books to read, gardens that grow, her cats, and more.

Another memorable mention of gratitude was from Dave Cornell. Dave is a motivational speaker and coach whose focus is on cultivating courage, professionally and personally. Dave revealed during a presentation that when he and his wife went through bankruptcy due to both losing their jobs within 13 months, they kept a gratitude journal. Through the distress and anxiety of their experience, Dave described the positive value they gained by recognizing the good things in their life.

I’ve gained lessons from Dee and Dave – to not take anything for granted, but rather to be grateful. Also to be grateful for the things that don’t go my way; for challenges and stressful circumstances, knowing I will learn something from them, if only I approach those times with an outlook of gratitude.

Gratitude vs guilt
During Hurricane Irma, and during these days following that destructive event, I am grateful to live in the Midwest, away from the devastation of tropical storms. But my sister and her husband live north of Naples, Florida. If anyone can come through a catastrophe, my vote would be solidly for them. They are prepared for any eventuality and they work well together.

Now, when they are among the 7 million Floridians who don’t have electricity, the good news is that they are tired but well, and although there’s flooding outside their home, inside it’s dry. I’m so relieved; so grateful. But I feel guilty that our electricity works, our water is clean and available, our streets are clear of debris, and stores and offices continue to operate in a “business as usual” model.

I also feel helpless and inadequate. Beyond donating to the Red Cross, I wonder what to do that would be helpful. Perhaps I can answer my own question by being grateful, and recognizing all that I have for which I can express gratitude.

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