As I was casually browsing the web, a writing contest caught my eye. Entrants needed to formulate an essay answering the question “Should we be grateful?”
My short answer is, yes.
I spent the weekend wondering what others might have said in their essays. I would especially love to read the essays arguing that we shouldn’t be grateful just to see what they had to say.
I believe we all have at least one thing to be grateful for every day, and that one thing might vary from one person to the next.
I can count my blessings and express my gratitude for things in my daily life that make the days worth living.
When I wake up, I’m in a nice, warm bed I call my own, in a house I own with my husband. I drive around the corner to my office and I have the ability to write stories about topics I care about in this community.
When I am feeling blue, I can pick up my cell phone and call my mom and dad to catch up and talk about our days.
On days when my Rheumatoid Arthritis sends me into a flare, I can reach for my pain medication and do my Humira injection and go about my day relatively pain free. Sometimes I feel so good I can even do light to moderate exercise in the evenings.
On weekends I am fortunate to use my photography skills volunteering at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia where I get to meet and play with so many wonderful dogs looking for their forever homes. I even had the opportunity to be locked in with a bouncy Chihuahua mix named Mario during the Adoption Angel Lock In event in August, giving me a firsthand look at what it’s like to live one day as a shelter dog.
When I am hungry, I can cook a meal in my kitchen. If I’m not feeling up for cooking, I can drive down to grab a bite at a fast food joint.
When it’s time to wash dishes, do laundry and get a shower, I have clean water and I never have to worry that there won’t be any hot water.
Throughout the day I often think of my husband who works hard every day to teach the next generation and how fortunate his students are to have a teacher who cares so much about them. Then I think about all of the teachers and professors who inspired me along the way who helped me get here.
When I look to my right, I can see the thank you notes I’ve received from individuals thanking me for writing and sharing their stories with the community.
When the holiday season comes around every year, I get to visit with family and friends I love so dearly. I get to see my grandparents who have played such an important role in my life.
When I log into Facebook, I get to chat with the incredible friends I’ve made across the country, sharing a strong, unique bond we have a hard time explaining.
When my friends need advice or a shoulder to cry on, they come to me where I can provide them comfort in any matter or concern on their mind.
When it’s time to make a difference in this community, state and nation, I have the ability to cast my vote and play a vital role in shaping the America we want to live in – something other countries do not have.
When I say my prayers and sleep soundly at night, I know it’s because men and women fight every day overseas and on our soil, law enforcement and emergency services personnel work around the clock to keep us safe.
And when I open my eyes and take a deep breath in the morning, I get to live another day in this wide wonderful world. It may not always be perfect, but I wake up knowing somehow I can make a difference.
Gratitude looks different for everyone, and when I take stock of what I am most grateful for I do so knowing that even people reading this column do not have the same items on their list.
Everyone has something to be grateful for, even if it’s just waking up and seeing the sunshine.
Jessica Taylor is the education and features reporter for the Dawson County News.