30 Days of Gratitude (Part Deux)

And we’re back!! If you haven’t perused Part 1 please take a moment to do so. You won’t regret it.

I’ve been using the words grateful/gratitude & thankful/thankfulness interchangeably and will continue to do so. However, it occurred to me that there might be a slight difference officially, and this is what I found. Thankfulness is feeling pleased & relieved, while gratefulness is showing appreciation for something done or received. Being thankful is more about expressing a feelingwhereas gratitude is action in response to something or someone that you appreciate. Thankfulness involves how we feel in the moment. It is a temporary emotional response to a temporary circumstance. Conversely, gratitude is an attitude under any circumstance, appreciating daily life even when nothing exciting happens. I get it. I don’t disagree with any of that. However, I will continue to utilize both terms as synonyms, and I’m pretty sure The Manoverse is sharp enough to keep up.

6 What in nature are you grateful for??

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m not at all outdoorsy (for legit reasons), and neither am I really into “saving the environment” (whatever that means). Having said that, I do have a healthy respect for God’s amazing creation. Many years ago I self-diagnosed myself with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I do not like grey, cloudy, rainy, depressing days, and I’m not a fan of snowy, cold, icy conditions. Television & movies romanticize snow, but I find it rather inconvenient. I guess what I’m saying is that I really appreciate sunshine. I simply feel more energetic & focused…more alive…on beautiful, sunny days. I always say that any day that I can wear my sunglasses is a good day, 

7 What memory are you grateful for??

That’s really difficult to narrow down. I hope that most of us have a plethora of great memories. However, I’ll give the spotlight to two. First, I’ve talked a few times about the lovely Thanksgivings & Christmases of my youth. Sadly, with my mother & all the grandparents gone those occasions are forever in the mist of bygone days, and since I don’t have any kids it’s impossible to create new memories that measure up. At the other end of the heartwarming nostalgia spectrum are my days as a drunken frat boy. That is probably the favorite era of my life, although I have no desire to relive those crazy times. I am so grateful for my childhood, my family, and my college friends & good times. It’s all been downhill from there. 

8 What book are you most grateful for??

I’ve ranked everything from movies to TV characters to cartoons in this space, but I’ve never done any such thing with books. Why?? Well, I don’t believe it’s feasible to compare & contrast books, and I definitely can’t choose just one as my favorite. That being said, in the spirit of the task at hand, I’ll give a shout out to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes stories. I cannot remember exactly when & how I stumbled upon Holmes, although I think it may have been junior high. Thru the years I have reread those tales many times, and it is always like the literary version of comfort food. I don’t know how many youngsters are discovering Holmes these days, but I encourage anyone who has never had the pleasure to give him a whirl. It’s a decision you won’t regret. 

9 What place are you most grateful for??

This one is easy: The Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center. When I was a little boy the Robinson Grand was the local movie theater. I don’t have any specific memories of seeing anything there, although I know I did. Then malls became a thing, and when our local mall opened (complete with a shiny new cineplex) downtown died & the theater faded into oblivion. Flash ahead to 2018, and The Grand was renovated & reopened as a performing arts center. I happen to live about a mile away, so it is really convenient to drive down the street for a show. I live in a small, economically challenged town, and the theater holds about a thousand people, so the latest greatest rock band or that hot new country star isn’t walking thru the door, which is fine. I’ve seen several tribute bands, a handful of acts whose heyday was quite awhile ago, a couple of very well done local theater productions, and alot of other things at RGPAC. It’s always a nice way to spend the evening, and the staff has been first class from Day 1. I’m reminded of The Eagles 1979 song The Sad Cafe that says “oh it seemed like a holy place protected by amazing grace, and we would sing right out loud the things we could not say”, although I don’t want to give anyone the idea that there is anything sad about The Grand. To the contrary…it is my happy place.

10 What taste are you grateful for today??

Forgive me if I take these questions far too seriously. I suppose a simple, trite answer would suffice, but that’s not how I roll. In November 2015 I had a medical issue. I’ll spare you the details, but there are about three days of my life that I don’t remember at all. When I woke up in the hospital the plan was to perform surgery within 24 hours, so I wasn’t permitted to eat or drink, and I was so thirsty. I was given a tiny wet sponge, just enough to moisten my lips & tongue. If you’ve read your Bible you may recall in the book of John, as Jesus is hanging on the cross, He says “I thirst”. It goes on to say that “there was set a vessel full of vinegar…they filled a sponge with vinegar, put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth”. Don’t misunderstand…I am not comparing myself to Jesus, and I wasn’t given vinegar, but in that moment I thought of that scripture & truly understood thirst for probably the first time in my life. I don’t drink enough water even now, but that’s not the point. There are a ton of delicious food & beverage choices out there, but when you’ve experienced real thirst you deeply appreciate anything that will quench it.

Okay, let’s pause once again. Don’t worry…we’ll continue soon.