We Can Still Be Grateful

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

                                                                                              – Robert Frost

I sat in Church this morning still unsure of the content for this week’s newsletter.  It was a busy week and much has transpired over the past seven days that might lead one to travel down what I would call the “Darker Path”.  Last Sunday, Kobe Bryant and eight others perished in a tragic helicopter crash.  The Coronavirus has infected over 14,000 in China and trade fears associated with it were cited as the reason for the Dow’s 600 point drop on Friday.  And of course, we still have the circus in Washington and the impeachment trial of the President.  Friday’s vote on witnesses was purely political with all senators, but two (Romney and Collins) voting on party lines. The only beacon of light was to be found in the words of Mike Lee, Utah’s Republican senior senator who tweeted a message of support, “Mitt Romney is a good friend and an excellent Senator.  We have disagreed about a lot in this trial. But he has my respect for the thoughtfulness, integrity, and guts he has shown throughout this process.”  Thoughtfulness, integrity and guts; perhaps those are three qualities we need more of on both sides of the aisle.

Like everything else in our life, we have a choice which path we travel.  Frost encourages us to take the one less traveled, and I believe that is the path of gratitude; because in spite of the heartbreak associated with the loss of nine souls, the frustration of an illness for which there is yet a cure, and the games being played in Washington, we still have much for which we can be grateful.  The key is to be found, not by looking to our past, but in considering the possibilities of our future

What does your future hold?  I look at all the possibilities and opportunities that life holds for my son, daughter-in-law and the Wolfpups, and I am grateful.  I marvel at the research being done to find cures for diseases and illness, and I am grateful. I applaud the human spirit and efforts seeking to make the world a better place for those who are destitute or suffering, and I am grateful.  

Martin Seligman is the founder and Director of Penn’s Positive Psychology Center.  In 1998 he was elected President of the American Psychological Association.  In his President’s Address he stated that we each hold the potential to create an informed practice of the pursuit of the best things in life.  It is how we decide to exercise that potential that makes all the difference.  It’s easy to travel a road on which we identify what has gone wrong, the shortcomings, the obstacles, but what purpose does it serve?  A gratitude driven life, one which pursues a path that seeks opportunity, possibility, and happiness will certainly be more rewarding. 

As we move into a new month, I encourage you to look at the possibilities.   Accept the realities of the past and present, but don’t let them distract you from the opportunities that lay ahead. I’m going to be working with some great clients and I will be grateful.  I’m going to be pursuing a new role in my Church, learning as I go, and I will be grateful.  I’m going to seek to serve others, make their lives better, and I will be grateful.  I’m going to take the path less traveled, hopefully it will make all the difference, regardless, I will be grateful, because I am still able to make the journey; embrace yours!