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Gratefulness January 29, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in Gratefulness, Thankfulness, thoughts.
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I belong to a study group that meets periodically and earlier this month we were given an assignment. At the end of every day we are to reflect over the day and note what it is that we are the most grateful for and what we are the least grateful for. It might be an event, big or small, that made an impact or perhaps it’s considering how I made an impact on others. I started doing this a week or so ago and it occurred to me, that I don’t really know what “grateful” means. Is it simply a synonym for “thankful” or is there a real difference between the two?

Dictionary.com to the rescue!

grate·ful

adjective

1.
Warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received;
thankful:
I am grateful to you for your help.
2.
Expressing or actuated by gratitude:
a grateful letter.
3.
Pleasing to the mind or senses;
agreeable or welcome;
refreshing:
a grateful breeze.

There are definitely some clues here. What are some of the words that jump out at me?

Appreciative

Kindness or benefits received

Refreshing

Pleasing to the senses

Even though “thankful” is up there as part of definition one, I think I’m beginning to see how gratefulness is different. I love the third definition… agreeable or welcome… a grateful breeze. It seems to allude to peacefulness.

Looking a little deeper on the definition page I find this contrast:

Thankful describes an appreciative attitude for what one has received.

Grateful indicates a warm or deep appreciation of personal kindness as shown to one.

Thankfulness seems to be a response to getting or having stuff. I’m thankful for a warm, dry place to sleep, for plenty of healthy food to eat, for good music to keep me company and for delicious coffee to drink.

Gratefulness, on the other hand, seems to be a response to the thoughtful actions of another person. I’m grateful for the note left on my desk, for the thoughtfulness and caring behind the perfect gift, for a meal prepared with love, or for a door that’s opened while I’m fumbling for my keys.

The meanings of thankful and grateful definitely overlap and in many cases could be used as synonyms, but I’m beginning to see a difference between the two.

Right now, in this moment, what are you most grateful for?

Come Ye Thankful People, Come November 25, 2008

Posted by phoenixhopes in Holidays, Thankfulness.
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It’s the night before the night before Thanksgiving and I’m cooking and cleaning and packing and trying to get too much done. It all adds up to one cranky momma and the first inklings of a pity party. I tend to be a “glass one quarter empty” kindof person. I’m not a true pessimist and I can see the positive side, but I have to work at it. I’m much more likely to say “that’s pretty good, but….” than “Wow! That’s great!”.

So there I was, cleaning the disgusting food out of the fridge (it took some serious thinking to figure out that the “moldy brain” I found was really the scraps of pie crust that got shoved to the back and forgotten), and it occurred to me that I really have nothing to complain about. Yeah, my life isn’t perfect, but oh well. It’s too easy to notice the annoyances and stop there. As I took out the trash I started making a list:

– It’s 27 degrees outside but the wind’s not blowing and I have a coat that keeps me toasty warm.

– Remnants of that inch of snow I woke up yesterday morning are still lingering but I have boots that keep my feet warm (even in the mornings waiting in the cold at the train station)

– No one else is home and the house was just too quiet. The only company available was the TV but when I turned it on the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special was on. Oh I love that show!

– I have a three hour drive ahead of me tomorrow in what could potentially be awful, holiday traffic but I filled up the gas tank for $1.67/ gallon (and I can probably convince my son to do some of the driving).

– I’ve got to pack and hope I remember to bring the right games but my children are all looking forward to some time laughing and playing games and generally enjoying each other.

– There is a lot of cooking ahead of me in the next few days and I’ll be doing it in a small, unfamiliar kitchen but this is all food my family loves and looks forward to each year.

– If I remember to bring my camera and the batteries don’t die on me (and if they do, that’s what stores are for!) then I’ll take lots of pictures to help us remember the time together.

– I have food to eat and enough to share, a warm bed to sleep in and doors that lock at night.

Like I said above, my life is far from perfect but it’s also far from awful. I need to remind myself of that more often. Please, leave a comment sharing some annoyance in your life that reminds you how thankful you really are.