Gratitude by Wendy Strgar

“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.”  French proverb

I have generally not been a sports fan in life, but living with my husband for over 20 years and raising two sons has trained me in the importance of the game.  Tonight we shared a real loss as we watched the dreams of our star quarterback slip away with a hit to the knee. He stood on the sidelines watching his team lose their chance at a national championship.  This is the game of life we watched play out.  When we predict how things will turn out for our teams and our selves but usually we can’t quite imagine all the possibilities.  It is often the thing that you couldn’t imagine, that you often can’t see coming- even when it is barreling down on you like a linebacker.

We can never imagine the full range of possibilities, if we could imagine all the possibilities it wouldn’t be called a game, which by it’s very nature is unpredictable and exciting -like life.   I always tell my boys, especially after they lose, that you can’t ever win if you can’t risk losing.  The losing is what makes the winning real.

Our personal quests for love and success carry the same risk and excitement.  Sometimes, the cards you are dealt are winners and other times- they lead us into situations that are not that different from tonight’s sad loss.  The boys on the team will have to come home and figure out how to try again.  They will have to be willing to risk it all again, which requires enormous courage after you lose- especially on ESPN.  Even when we lose in private, with no one but you watching it takes great courage to try again.  Finding a way back into a difficult relationship or a challenging situation requires gratitude.

It is through our heart’s memory, the place where we store the love in our life that we find that what we have is enough.  It is through feeling grateful for both our efforts and the efforts of the people that we love that we can turn denial into acceptance, chaos into order and confusion into clarity.  This is what champions must do with defeat and I think the only noble path to live a life that gives as much as it takes.  Having the chance to play in the game is enough, even when the golden win isn’t what we are left with.

This is the week we set aside to be thankful.  This year consider being thankful for your heart’s memory- the inner store of loving thoughts and connections that has given you the courage to keep going.

I have always believed that what we all want most is to be loved.  The feeling of being loved and worthy is a universal gateway to happiness and satisfaction

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

We all long for happiness…  I would say that these things might just be one in the same.  For the sake of argument, let’s just assume that they are. We are happiest when we feel loved and valued and least happy when we feel unlovable and unworthy.

If it is all as simple as that, why then do we so often find ourselves unhappy and dissatisfied with our life and our relationships? In Daniel Gilbert’s ‘Stumbling On Happiness’, learn the scientific research that shows that we continuously miss the happiness and love we want, because we often don’t even know what it is that we’re looking for.

Our imagination of our desired life Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.