Fall is the season when my heart begins to thump like the pluck of a banjo as the trees paint the ground with red, orange, and gold leaves. The air begins to smell like a fire pit, and pumpkins begin to grace every surface of my house. (I have a casual love affair with pumpkins.) Fall is the poster child for change. It's the season when life starts to shed summer's green fruit in order to prepare the earth for hibernation. It's also the season when I realize the importance of saying "thank you."
I've never really stopped to think about the importance of being thankful. I was driving home from work complaining to my wonderful mother. Before I could finish my complaint, she (rudely) interrupted me. I felt as though her eyes were piercing into my soul through the receiver. She said, "Taylor Yvonne, you need to be thankful. You are very blessed!" I wanted to say, "Well thank you for stating the obvious mom, but can you please just add some fuel to my fire!" My mom was right and what she said was apparently not obvious to me.
When I finally arrived home I poured a White Whale cocktail, opened my computer, and searched "thankful and TED Talk". The link at the top of Google's search results blew my mind. How did Google know? Did my mom give them a heads up? Google led me to a “TED Talk” given by David Steindl-Rast. The title? "Want to be happy? Be grateful." I clicked. I watched. I cried. The meaning and passion in his message was sweeter than molasses on a biscuit. I never thought about gratefulness leading to happiness until I heard him say:
Is it really the happy people that are grateful? We all know quite a number of people who have everything that it would take to be happy, and they are not happy, because they want something else or they want more of the same. And we all know people who have lots of misfortune, misfortune that we ourselves would not want to have, and they are deeply happy. They radiate happiness. You are surprised. Why? Because they are grateful.
I began to see the ungratefulness in my life. I realized that comparison is the sibling of ungratefulness. When the TED Talk ended, I thought of everything and everyone who has brought joy, pain, and love into my life and I extended a thank you. It was a simple, authentic thank you. I closed my computer, took the last sip of my cocktail, and smiled. I was happy.
What are you thankful for this year?