Thanksgiving is 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. 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 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. Mark was educated at Freed-Hardeman University and Harding School of Theology. He is available for appointments in both Murray and Paducah offices.