The Secret of a Grateful Heart

The practice that released my bitterness and restored my joy.

I jumped out of bed one morning, committed to jogging before my day began—and before anyone I knew saw me in shorts. Halfway down the block, a teenage boy zipped by on his bike, looked me over, gave a "thumbs up," and shouted, "Go, Grandma, go!"

At first I was insulted. The way he said the word "grandma" made me feel so old, even though I was only in my 40s at the time (OK, late 40s).

Before I could shout back, he was out of sight. I finished my run, then sat on a bench overlooking the ocean and burst out laughing. At least he noticed me, I thought. That's something for which I could be thankful.

Later, as I stepped off a curb to cross the street near my home, a car whizzed by and nearly clipped my toes. I jumped back in shock and anger, then realized I had more reasons for gratitude than anger. I was alive—and unhurt.

And so it continues, day after day. I'm paying attention. I'm watching my attitude. I'm saying "thank you" more often. And the more I do, the more grateful and joyful I become.

No Thanks

I haven't always been a grateful person. For years I focused on what I didn't have—in my marriage, in friendships, within myself—instead of looking at what I did have and being thankful for it.

I'd married a man I was crazy about, but we were never as close as I wanted. I worked hard at becoming what I thought he wanted instead of becoming the woman I was created to be. He was committed to his law practice and I busied myself with our children. We began drifting apart. We forgot how to laugh with one another. We made small talk instead of truly communicated. We stopped making love.

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May 25

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