The Voice of Experience: Remember to be grateful and thankful

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The dictionary tells us that gratitude is “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful,” an accurate but inadequate description of a word filled with so much meaning. Let’s take a look at some of the many things that we are personally grateful for:

•Living in a country where there is much more freedom than in many other lands.

•While our health-care system is far from perfect, it’s free to many, and for others, much less expensive than elsewhere.

•Creston’s hospital may be small, but we still have it, and the staff and service are superb.

•We have doctors — maybe not as many as we like, but lots of countries have none. And many specialists are now coming here, which saves us the drive to Cranbrook or Trail.

•Seniors receive Old Age Security and, if necessary, the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

•The beauty and productivity of the valley are what brought us here 15 years ago, and we have no plans to leave all those perks of fresh food and local honey!

•The weather here is moderate. I recall the –44 C in Calgary and the 42 C on the first of April in the Yucatan. (Guess I’m a middle-of-the-road person where weather is concerned.)

•On a more personal note, our travels to various countries, the immersion in other cultures and the friendships made with the natives there have all given us a broader and more accepting view of the world we live in, and more gratitude for what we have.

•We have gratitude for all the wonderful cats we met in all our travels. Their acceptance of and friendship with us total strangers was very special.

•The “tough love” of our parents (both Harry’s and mine were strict Brits) that taught us respect for others and responsibility for all that is good in life.

•The incredible community spirit here in Creston — the working together of individuals and groups. Thank you to one and all.

•And so very close to our hearts we have gratitude for friends and for a loving family, including those we have “adopted” over the years, with the most gratitude of all being able to share ourselves with each other.

As the new year approaches, let’s all take stock of how many pluses we have in our lives, and be grateful and thankful, as the dictionary tells us.

Mary Underhill is a Creston stress therapist and grief counsellor.