2005-11-25 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Appreciation, Thanksgiving and Joy
By Dr. Nancy Gahles

DR. nancy gahlesDR. nancy gahles It is well that we appreciate all that we have been given.

We appreciate the material possessions and all the good fortune in life that we give lip service to at the dinner table.

When we read the school children’s Thanksgiving poems they will all reflect the same basic sentiment of thanks for their mother, family, teacher and dog. Rarely do we hear someone say that they appreciate the challenges they were given or the obstacles they have faced. Indeed, these events may have more merit and far greater repercussions in your life than you may realize at the time they present themselves. Virtues such as strength and fortitude are forged by hardship.

Persistence in overcoming an obstacle hones one’s sense of confidence and lays the groundwork of trust and faith for the future.

When we have prayed for an end or a solution to our problems and they are eventually resolved, we feel a sense of appreciation for deliverance from our misfortune. This sentiment is a common one felt along the journey through life and is aptly expressed in Psalm 66 when the psalmist remembers a time that his people were tried severely but, in the end, they were delivered. “We went through fire and water, but You brought us out into abundance.” They were appreciative of God’s efforts on their behalf.

The natural sequelae to appreciation are to be thankful and to give praise or recognition to those who have helped you along your way. We are all connected to each other in this Universe and all actions and reactions involve others either directly or indirectly. Think of all the people in your life who have helped you. Think of the ways in which each have caused events that were to your ultimate benefit. Surely, at this point, you will recall people and events that were not pleasant at the time. Think of how it may have changed you for the better, in retrospect, or forced you to change the course of your life. You may never have moved out of your comfort zone without these people or experiences. Remember that all things work together for good and thank these people also or at least, forgive them and yourself.

With communication technology becoming more advanced, our interconnectedness with the world becomes more apparent. Indeed, our interdependence exceeds that which our forefathers could have dreamed. In giving Thanks to all who have shaped our lives, destiny and fortune, I recall the words of William Blake:” No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Joy follows appreciation and thanksgiving as we feel the exuberance that bubbles up in our hearts with the knowing that is born of triumph. Triumph over the misunderstanding and anxiety of worry about the future. Joy is a response in the moment to the awakening in your being that all is well.

Joy is a feeling of ultimate well-being. Being well begets joy. It is the Universal law in operation once again. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Appreciation and thanksgiving are actions which provoke joy as a reaction. Living in the moment, appreciating every experience as it comes, being thankful and living joyfully is the gift we can give to ourselves, confident that, as the song goes,… “She’s got the Whole World in Her Hands.” As we gather together this holiday season, let Peace reign among us.

“My own peace I give you; a peace which the world cannot give. This is my gift to you.” –John 14:27

In Appreciation, Thanskgiving and Joy,

May The Blessings Be!

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