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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

Let’s change our world. We can start with a little gratitude.

Gratitude has not come easy for many of us over the past two years. Pandemics, protests, wars. The general circumstances of our world seem incongruous with feelings of thanks.

Even the things we might feel thankful for are often based on avoidance of negative outcomes: thankful I did not get deathly ill, thankful I have not been subject to the inequity suffered by others, thankful I do not need to be worried about artillery shells falling on my house.

Then the adult education group at my church read “Grateful: The Subversive Power of Giving Thanks” by Diana Butler Bass.

It is not a regular habit for me to read books like this one. I generally stick to literature classics, epic fantasies or a compilation of whatever some school board is attempting to ban. Self-help books always feel too agenda driven and too shallow, embellished revelatory moments awash in a sea of catchphrases.

I would never have picked this up if it had not been for the effort of our education group guide. I consider myself a grateful person. I thank people regularly. The server who fills my water glass, the lady who lets me wheel by in my cart at the grocery store, the guy who chases me down to return a glove I dropped.

I also recognize the blessings in my life and allowing myself to be filled by the joy they bring me. That comes naturally to me, though I understand how it can be a struggle at times. Certainly, it is something that Butler Bass highlights as a core skill to be cultivated.

But as it turns out, I have missed a lot, too. And I could be doing more.

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