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An Expression of Gratitude

How do you show your thanks?

Many families will express gratitude today, vocalizing their blessings at the dinner table before they dig in. Mine will be no different.

But it’s one thing to rattle off the things for which we know we should be thankful, and quite another to truly understand how fortunate we are.

Last week, I attended the ’s gathering with students at and , who collected for some of our less fortunate neighbors.

A few days later, I volunteered with an organization that delivered turkeys and all the trimmings to nearby families who were grateful for a helping hand this holiday season. It was so rewarding, yet so heartbreaking, to meet the recipients, some of whom shared short stories about their struggles, and one of whom warmly embraced me as she expressed her thanks.

Events like these that help me keep a grip on reality and remind me that I have so much for which to be thankful, not just today, but every day.

It’s so easy for many of us to complain about our stresses, or to pine for the luxuries that elude us. Then we meet a family that gratefully accepts the gift of a single meal, and suddenly, nothing else seems important. Our personal wish lists are crumbled. The basic needs of others are put first. And we are reminded of what truly makes our lives meaningful.

I’d like to share a partial list of what I’m grateful for today — and what I will try to carry with me for the next 364 days, as well.

  • I’m thankful for another year of health for my family.
  • For my home, which is stocked with everything I need, and many things I don't need.
  • For my wonderful family, including two nephews who are, in my unbiased view, the world’s most perfect pair of little boys.
  • For each of my readers, who make my job enjoyable every day and who help make Patch successful, ensuring that I will be able to continue to pay my mortgage, heat my home, stock my cabinets and shop for those aforementioned nephews.

And while my heart breaks for them, I am thankful for encounters with less fortunate citizens. They remind me of how much I have. They remind me to share my gifts with others. And they remind me what it truly means to be a part of society.

It is bittersweet moments such as these that can reshape one’s day and, in some cases, one’s life. Many read and enjoyed Patch blogger , in which she insisted that there’s even a bright side to getting the stomach flu. I’m inclined to agree with her (though I may need a gentle reminder to look on the sunny side the next time I consume contaminated peanut butter).

Remember, after Thanksgiving has come and gone, there is still much for which to be grateful. And, there are still people who are grateful, year round, when those who can lend a helping hand.

It’s not too late to make a difference in a neighbor’s life this year. as they struggle to serve a growing number of residents. Others are collecting toys and clothing.

Will you simply recite a gratitude list this year? Or will you do something that will give others a reason to be thankful?

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