Time for Thanks
Posted 7/21/22

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Such a simple concept.  Being thankful for someone, something.

I often feel waves of gratitude and I believe those times to be emotionally freeing and the most enjoyable.  I can sit and list things that I am so very grateful for, and they begin with family, friends, health, comfort and even lead into the smallest of items like a meal, devices we have or an incredible sunset that I catch a glimpse of while sitting on my front porch.

But being grateful doesn’t always come naturally or easily.

There are times when I wake up and, clearly, I am not on the right side of the bed.  Those times I seem to search for what’s wrong or what’s challenging as opposed to those strategically placed blessings that are conveniently positioned in my immediate path. Instead of recognizing these nuggets of gold, I often choose to step right over them and continue on a cynical path.

With the state of the world today it’s effortless to fall down an abyss of worry and strife.  We are forever tormented by a barrage of opinions, images, divisiveness, and discord.  All things that can cloud your mind and distract you from being a great employee, father, mother, husband, wife, friend, parent or human. 

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How does one battle this?  How do we push back on the never-ending force that can guide us to the rocks as opposed to the safe harbor?  For me it’s a few practices that I strive to implement daily, and I thought I would share because, I get it… it’s not easy to dig deep when you have the world on your shoulders.  For me, my priority is my family and after that comes the assurance that I am healthy and well so I can focus on my career and my other family that I have at the Chiefs. 

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Perspective.  This is something I have in spades as I have lived in many different places and have had indelible experiences with people from all walks of life.  Whether it’s mentoring high-risk high school students or spending a great deal of time with the men and women who serve our country, I feel like I have met some of the most in-need people as well as some of the most selfless.  With that, I often reflect on where I am and where I have come from.  I think of conversations with these groups and realize that what I may perceive as difficult would be someone else’s walk in the park.  To know I can, at any point, open my fridge to find food, jump inside my car to escape for a drive, grab my laptop to get informed or turn a faucet on and have clean water flow from it at will… maybe my problems aren’t that grand?  Perspective.

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Just Say Thanks. I find that beginning and ending most conversations (whether in person or via written communication) with gratitude is one of the easiest and kindest ways to be grateful.  Thanking people for the time, help they may have offered or even the fact that they read something you sent them (like you reading this very blog!) is a sign of respect and gratefulness.  Not expecting people’s help and attention but understanding that it’s a gift and a pleasure to communicate with empathy and mindfulness.  By the way, thank you for reading this far.

Silent Reflection.  Lastly, before I drift off each night, I have made it a point be grateful for as many things as I can list that made my day tremendous or at the very least, manageable.  I may have had a tough day that was filled with more downs than ups, anxiousness and stress, but my two legs carried me, in the end, back to my home, my wife and children where I found the blessing of a meal and a safe place to sleep.  I have found that I am more apt to turn the daily silver linings into golden ones because, in the end, I know that I would take my problems over many others. 

I challenge you to take the time to implement some of these techniques.  Use your own perspective to have empathy for those around you and understand how lucky you are.  Say thanks to those you cross paths with… they may need a smile and some gratitude more than you do at that point.  And reflect, if not often, at least at the end of the day.  Take nothing for granted because none of this is given or guaranteed and a little gratitude goes a long way.

Again, thanks.

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