What better day to start a blog on Gratitude than on Thanksgiving Day!

Today we’ll spend quality time with family and friends.  Loved ones will drive in from out of town, and we’ll be grateful for the chance to spend the day with them.  We’ll eat way too much food, food that every other day of the week we would feel too guilty to put into our mouths — foods like mashed potatoes with lots of real butter and sour cream, home-made pies and ice cream, warm breads with even more butter, creative fat-laden side dishes with some token vegetables in them, and we’ll eat it all in massive quantities that would make us ashamed on an ordinary day.

We’ll spend the day cooking, doing dishes (and possibly some laundry), watching tv, playing games, laughing, taking walks (some of us, anyway!), brainstorming solutions to the world’s problems, sampling some festive adult beverages, and hopefully spending one entire day not thinking about the things that normally worry us.

Today we will take the time to be grateful for everything that is good about our lives.  This year especially, when many of us have suffered financial losses — shrinking investment portfolios, loss of jobs and income, looming foreclosures and bankruptcy — it is more important than ever to focus on the things that are truly valuable.

So what are those enduring treasures?  Where does our true wealth really lie?  Think about it for a minute:  If you were to lose all that you own, what would you have left?  Even if you were to lose everything — your house, your car, your computer, your toys, your favorite pair of shoes — you would still have all of the talents, knowledge, and skills that you have acquired through your life.  You would still have your beliefs, your values, your faith.  And you would still have all of these people who are with you on this day, the people who love you and who love you back.  Would you be able to start over with only these things left? You bet you would.  You could still learn to thrive and to be happy, even without all your stuff.  I’m sure of it.

I believe that of all the things we have, our relationships are by far the most valuable.  If we have people who love us, and if we love them in return, we truly have wealth beyond measure.  So I urge you to be fully present on this day.  Get off the computer, break away from the TV, take your nose out of the newspaper, and interact fully with your family and friends.  Take the time to play games with the children, listen to that uncle’s stories with rapt attention (even if he’s told the same story every year for your whole life), laugh at bad jokes, and be generous with hugs and kisses.  Spend today loving them as if your whole life depends on it — because it really does.  These people are your lifeline.  Treat them like the treasure that they truly are.

I’m sure there’s some person in your life who you wish could be with you on this Thanksgiving Day, but who couldn’t make it.  Take a minute to send them a heartfelt greeting card.  Tell them how important they are to you.  Then go off and eat way too much food.  You deserve it!