A Time of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving season is a good time to contemplate the many blessings in our lives and consider the many reasons for us to have grateful hearts.
The dictionary defines gratitude as “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.”
Author Marelisa Fabrega writes: “Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.”
Dr. Robert Emmons has studied the many facets of gratitude. His research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”
Gratitude – A Gift we Give Ourselves
There are not enough blessings, fortunes, or gifts in all the world to force us to be grateful. Gratitude is a personal response. It is a choice. It comes as we acknowledge the blessings and goodness in our lives. Even when surrounded with challenges and difficulty, the person who has learned to have a grateful heart finds comfort in the opportunity to endure and is grateful for the possibility of eventually overcoming challenges.
A grateful heart becomes the lens through which we view our world, our life, and those around us. Gratitude is a gift.
Gratitude is being willing and able to see the good, the uplifting, and the positive in the world and in others – and even in ourselves. Gratitude is not turning a blind eye towards the problems and deficiencies in the world and in our own lives. Gratitude gives us eyes to see and appreciate the possibilities around us and keeps us from giving in to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Gratitude enables us to dream and form positive visions of the future. People with grateful hearts are people of great vision and are future oriented. They have the ability to hold the caterpillar and see the butterfly. They can cradle the child and see the successful adult and future leader. They can eagerly begin the first class in college and yet envision graduation day with the diploma and resulting benefits. From grateful hearts come great souls and great accomplishments.
From the Mouths of Babes…
I love the story told of a 4 year-old boy standing in the front room of his home – just staring out the window with a huge, tooth filled grin on his face. On his way through the room his father sees the young boy and notices the big smile and that far- away look in his son’s eyes as he stares of the window. The boys gaze was not at anything particular outside the window – but rather a gaze that told you that he was in another world. Some moments later the father again walks through the room and notices that his son is still standing in the room, still staring out the window with a sparkle in his eyes, and still grinning from ear to ear. Then later as the father walks by the boy a third time, he can no longer contain his curiosity. He stops on his busy way, kneels down to his son and inquires, “Son, what are you thinking about?” His young son with the grin still on his face and the sparkle still in his eyes turns to his father and answers, simply, “Candy!!!”
The young boy didn’t have any candy right then but he was smiling because he lived in a world where he knew candy existed! He knew that sooner or later he would get some candy – whether from his parents, a grandparent, or a friend. He knew he might even save up enough money from chores or allowance to go to the store and buy some candy. But either way he knew that he lived in a world where candy existed! And as long as the possibility existed that he could have some – he couldn’t ignore the gratitude he felt nor could hold back the resulting smile and excitement.
We can learn a lot from this little boy about being grateful. Sometimes we think we must save our gratitude for moments when we are lavished with overwhelming gifts or blessings. Its easy to be grateful at such times. Real and meaningful gratitude comes from having the ability to see the good all around us- even when it might not be right in our face. Someone wisely claimed that happiness is not having what you want as much as it is wanting what you have. Happiness is not so much the things we get as it is a direct result of acknowledging and appreciating what we already have in our lives. Being grateful doesn’t mean that we don’t work toward better things or seek to progress and to reach important goals. But gratitude can illuminate the pathway to better things and qualify us for the happiness that comes from achieving and progressing.
Grateful for You
At Utah Community Credit Union, we are grateful for you, the member. I often tell people that if they were going to establish a credit union anywhere in the world – they could not select a better community or group of people to be members than the members of UCCU. I am also convinced that they couldn’t find a better group of people to serve as employees than those who serve as employees at UCCU. Everything we do here at the credit union is to serve you and help you reach your financial goals. We are truly grateful for the opportunity we have to serve you and assist you in managing your financial life and being your trusted financial partner.
Grateful for the Community
We are grateful to be part of a robust, healthy, and growing community. We are grateful for the businesses and institutions that provide resources, education, and quality of life to our community. We are grateful for public servants and community volunteers who contribute to the continued success, safety, and growth around us.
We are fortunate to live when and where we do. As in any community we have issues we are working on and improvements we want to make. As we all do our part and as we each develop an increased sense of gratitude, our community will continue to be a positive environment and a better place to live, work, and raise a family. We again express our gratitude for the opportunity of serving you and your family.
Happy Thanksgiving from UCCU to you!