Thanksgiving is only two days away. It may be my favorite holiday of the year, all about family and food and gratitude.
In my mind, Thanksgiving kicks off not the holiday season, but the season of gratitude. This time of the year, it seems I always hear a news story or two about the benefit of the feeling of gratitude. There are scientific studies that link gratitude with happiness and better emotional health. That is certainly something to reflect upon, though it hardly seems surprising. Many of us give to charities during this time of the year as an expression of our gratitude for what we have. Most charitable organizations know that, which results in our mailboxes being filled with appeals for donations.
The act of giving can bring happiness and satisfaction. But giving is an action with effects that live well past the impulse to give or the glow of generosity. Recently, I visited the residential facility. One of the residents was “graduating” and returning to her home community. Her father was there. Staff and all of the other residential clients were there. Around the room and one by one, each gave the graduate a kind word, an affirmation, a wish for continued success. From the back of the room, I watched her father. He held his head down to hide the occasion tear. Finally, it was his turn to make a comment.
“This has been a long time in coming,” he said, “but now we are starting a new chapter.”
A new chapter. A father filled with gratitude. A child restored. Stories of renewed hope, confidence, and wholeness are the work of Crittenton. The generosity of our donors helps our clients to write those stories, to make them their own. Giving is powerful. Giving is gratitude in action.