For 18 years, I have been running variations of the same Thanksgiving column, listing the things for which I am thankful. A variety of events during the last several years led me to stop posting regular blog entries and start writing regular entries in a gratitude journal, which got me to thinking of the difference between thankful and grateful. Google isn't much help:
Grateful: feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.
Thankful: pleased and relieved, grateful
So, basically, it treats the words as synonymous. I do still give thanks for my health and my family. I am also grateful to have them in my life. I am grateful to be of use, to my family and others. I am grateful for the love I get and the love I have an opportunity to give. I am grateful that my medical problems are all treatable. Every day, I am grateful to be here, because every minute I have had since January 2007 has been a gift. I cherish that gift. I don't need Clarence the Angel to show me that this is a wonderful life; unlike George Bailey, I have never for a moment doubted that the world is a better place for my being in it. I give thanks for my blessings every morning, and expect to do so for the rest of my life. And, yes, especially on Thanksgiving Day.
Finally, if you feel life has been dealing to you from the bottom of the deck, I recommend the practice of keeping a gratitude journal. Write down one or two things each day for which you are grateful. Big or small, serious or silly. You may find it helps you keep things in perspective; I know it has had that effect on me. Going back and rereading it sometimes can be an interesting and rewarding activity.
For all of you who are still left to read this now-occasional blog, Happy Thanksgiving!