Having the gift of gratitude

Recently we had a granddaughter graduate from high school and we flew south to enjoy this experience with our family. When we returned, we noticed bookshelves in the office were on the floor, the desk was full of water and when we went upstairs, there was water in our kitchen and dining room. My husband turned off the water and that night we went to a public facility to use their restroom. As we were watching TV together later at home, I turned to Willie and said “How many times did we thank God that we could flush the toilet this week?” We knew the answer. ZERO. So many things can easily be taken for granted in our lives!


I am recuperating from a recent left knee replacement. I had had the other knee done four years earlier. This surgery seemed to progress slower than I had remembered the right knee. I’m sure that was only wishful thinking on my part. As I was challenged along the way, it was easy to look at the progress with mixed emotions. On those days something would happen and I would be exposed to others that really had lifelong challenges much greater than what I was going through. This immediately caused me to look at my progress in a more positive light.

It got me to thinking how truly blessed we are in Juneau. Travelers come from all over just to see our scenic beauty. We have gorgeous mountains and glaciers to look at. The water views from almost any point are breathtaking. Individually we have lived lives full of memories, good and bad that have formed us into the people we’ve become. Yes, we have the ability to choose how we are going to experience life — in a positive or negative way. Our endless blessings are a true gift from God that when we take time to acknowledge and give thanks, we smile within. This enlightened feeling is transmitted to others we come in contact with, and the energy continues to grow.

The other night we were watching the movie “The Ultimate Life” in which James Garner (who plays a billionaire) is depicted as a stowaway child on a freight train. The man who helps the child board the moving train has no money or possessions and yet in the morning the child sees the man writing in the air 10 things he’s thankful for. He tells the child because of the lessons he’s been taught, he does this every day. What an amazing life-changing habit that is! What a remarkable lesson that scene gives all of us; one many of us need to be reminded of: how important it is to be grateful for things in our lives.

In 1990, Barbara Ann Kipper published a book entitled “14,000 Things To Be Happy About.” I don’t know about you, but I would find it easier to give thanks for 10 things each day. In Psalm 118:24 we find the very familiar verse, “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

As you approach a new day, take a moment to give thanks for some of the blessings you know are in your life. Doing this can shift our focus. If we focus on the negative, it is easy to lose sight of how truly fortunate we are, whatever we’ve been dealt with in life. As Madisyn Taylor states in her “Daily OM” published in 2008, “The more we appreciate life, the more life appreciates us and bestows us with greater goodness.”

This is something we need to be reminded of from time to time. I know I certainly do. I have been blessed. I do try to give thanks as I go through the day. It certainly makes a difference in how I view things that have happened in my life to see the glass half full instead of half empty. Bless you on your journey as well! Together we can make the world a better place and affect those around us in a positive way.

• Myrna Allen is a retired school teacher, member of Chapel by the Lake, and grew up in Juneau.


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