"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. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
― Melody Beattie
Thankfulness is a gate into fulfilled living. It is the spirit’s soaring in gratitude for life and all it promises. Gratitude dispels depression, anxiety, anger, and hatred.
Have you ever met a person whose worldly lot seems meager, whose health is a constant battle with pain or disability, who faces daily challenges that would bring a strong man to tears? And yet, he glows with gratitude for what he has, claiming himself blessed, very fortunate, or lucky to be alive. These are saints sent into your life to heal and bring joy. Their very presence lights up your life and helps you become aware of the great good this life has to offer.
Whenever I feel sad, resentful, or afraid of what will come, I write a gratitude list. I stretch it to twenty items or more, and I find it grows easy to reach that number. I focus on the present moment, not my past nor future, and look for the simple things in my life that enliven my soul and meets its desires.
Even in the winter of our years we can be thankful for the good days we have, medicines to ease our pain, promises of our faith, and the opportunity to leave a legacy to others: perhaps a memoir, an ethical will, a possession we no longer need, or some creation of our hands. And still, we can create our gratitude list, share it, and use it to lift our spirits.
When we write our thank you’s, light shines around us and through us. It gives us hope, presence, love, peace, and connection with all good. Our gratitude may encompass people, our situation in life, our possessions, our ideals and values, our god, our soul. It causes the universe to surround us with warmth, protection, and love. It sharpens our awareness of God.
 Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper, by Barry K. Baines, (2006). An ethical will is a statement of principles and values that we wish to impart to our children, friends, and others. It may take the form of a brief letter or a longer epistle. It allows us to state what is important to us and to send forth hope that those who follow will learn and enjoy the fruits of our legacy.