Grateful Alive

I volunteered my better half to bring an appetizer to this year’s Thanksgiving feast at my parents’ house.

“Yeah, I thought you could bring that awesome hummus, feta, and pepperoncini dip that you make.”

“Are you out of your mind?” she replied.  “I’m not going to bring a Mediterranean-style dish to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

“But it’s symbolic of the refugees that are braving the Mediterranean Sea as they flee war-torn countries in Africa,” I said.  “It’s just like the original pilgrims as they braved the long journey across the Atlantic and were helped by the American Indians during those first harsh winters.  How could you not see the similarities there?  And hence, the very appropriate nature of the dish.”

[Her: Eye roll.  Followed by an immediate departure from the room.]

The point of connection with that ludicrous interaction is that it’s Thanksgiving week.  A time of reflection…a time to say “thank you” for all the good in our lives and all that other crap.  (More importantly, it’s also time for the annual Bridge reunion concert at Ram’s Head Live on Wednesday night!)

On my way into work this morning, I heard a story on NPR about how gratitude is actually, quite literally, good for the heart.  Doctors conducted a study on older folks who had some sort of heart ailment: recent heart attack, high blood pressure, or some infliction of the heart itself.  Through a questionnaire, they found that people who said they were grateful were actually healthier than those who did not.

To further test this hypothesis, the doctor studied 40 other people who had indications of genetic heart issues.  He told them all to keep a journal, and each day they should write down 2-3 things they were grateful for.  Then, he retested them.  After only two months, those who followed through on keeping the journal showed recordable evidence of health benefits.

They say…well, not “they,” it was Zig Ziglar who said, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”

So take some time this week to really give thanks.  It’s not too much to ask.  Hell, even the dead are grateful.

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