This week is Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. It doesn’t seem to be too over-commercialized yet, and is usually a day of family and friends and food. The purpose behind the holiday, going back to it’s official proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, is gratitude.
Two of the Four Foundations of Wellness that we at Emerald try to implement with all our clients are Emotional and Spiritual. Both of these involve gratitude. To cultivate emotional wellness, I need to learn to be grateful instead of resentful or cynical. To cultivate spiritual wellness, I need to learn to be thankful instead of restless or discontented. I remember, early in my sobriety, when a friend and mentor suggested I make a “gratitude list,” and keep it where I could always have access to it. At first, I thought it was a silly exercise. But to this day, I have that list, and it gets refreshed from time to time as circumstances in my life change. Many of us do not have to be reminded of how blessed we are. I am thankful and grateful each day for the opportunities that continue to unfold in my own life.
There is a flip side though. Not everyone is at the point of being able to see the positive in life. Not everyone is able to discard old feelings of hurt, anger, jealousy, and resentment. For some, life is out to get them, and there’s nothing just nothing good under the sun. Not everyone will enjoy good food, good family, or good friends during the holidays. For some, the holidays are among the most depressing seasons of the year. For those who realize how blessed we are, let’s do something for someone else this Thanksgiving season, and try not to get caught.
Do an act of kindness for another. Help feed a family. Let’s not just express our thanks and our gratitude in thoughts and words, let’s express our thanks and gratitude through acts of service to others.
About the Author: Mark Hurt transitioned from 30 years in pastoral ministry into counseling, with a special interest in addiction and recovery related problems for children, youth, and adults. He is also interested in helping men and couples with relationship issues, as well as those dealing with religious trauma. In his spare time, Mark enjoys playing golf and tennis, reading books about spiritual development, and doing just about anything with any of his 6 grandchildren. His wife, Crystal, is a Pediatric Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit nurse at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN. Mark was educated at Freed-Hardeman University and Harding School of Theology. He is available for appointments at Emerald Therapy Center LLC at both of our Murray, KY and Paducah, KY locations.