Being grateful is something we all have to work at.
Gratitude is not something that just comes easily to a lot of people. But when we choose to be grateful for the little things, it will help us to find happiness in the big things.
Visiting other places helps us to be grateful for what we have.
Last month, we had the opportunity to travel as a family to Brazil. We flew into a city called Manaus and then stayed at a resort that was in the Rio Negro.
It was very isolated, and took us three and a half hours by car to get there.
We were in the middle of the Amazon—an experience that was completely unique and breathtakingly beautiful.
While we were there, we swam in the Rio Negro and saw all kinds of amazing animals and wildlife.
We even saw caimans, which are like alligators, only they have armored bellies, and I’m pretty sure their teeth are sharper. Honestly, they were the scariest things I’ve ever seen—much scarier than alligators.
Overall, we had a really amazing experience. And it was so nice to have the entire family together.
One of the things I really thought about while we were there is that where we live in the United States, we can drink clean water straight from the tap.
I never realized how grateful I am for this seemingly simple thing.
We need to be more grateful for the simple things in life.
We are very fortunate to live in a country where water is accessible and, at least for the most part, we don’t have to think about bacteria in our water.
I’ve personally never had to worry about filtering our water before we drink it.
Of course, people in the U.S. often filter their water because they don’t like the taste of it. But I don’t hear of too many people who have to filter their water because it’s harmful to their health.
But this isn’t the case in developing countries. Clean water—a basic human necessity—is not something they have access to. Yet it’s vital to life and something I am incredibly grateful for.
For those who live in developed countries like America, clean water is not even a luxury. We almost all have access to a faucet that provides us with a nice big glass of water any time we need it. But in developing countries, it’s a challenge to find this basic human necessity.
Clean water is just one of the many things we should be grateful for.
There are so many things in life that we take for granted. Whether it’s drinking clean water, sleeping in our nice warm beds, buying groceries at a local grocery store, or ordering things online with the click of a button. We have so much to be grateful for.
We have all of these incredible conveniences around us, yet so many of us are still miserable. With all these little things we take for granted, we could be the happiest people alive if we recognized what we have and focused on being grateful for them.
Choose to be grateful in every circumstance.
Life isn’t always going to go the way we think it should. There are going to be times when our circumstances aren’t always going to be the best.
But if we choose to be grateful, even when life gets interesting, we will be able to move through those things with a much brighter perspective.
And sometimes, those challenging circumstances can help us experience even more gratitude if our focus remains on being grateful.
Let me give you an example by going back to our vacation.
I experienced the need for clean water when I went to Ethiopia and to India. But when we traveled to those countries, I never really focused on it much.
Going to Brazil, however, changed things for me because I actually got sick from the water.
I’m not sure if it was swimming in the Rio Negro or drinking the water there. But I came home with something called dysentery.
When we found out what I had, one of my daughters said, “You’re giving me Oregon Trail vibes. That’s what people had on the Oregon Trail.”
And she’s not wrong. I don’t know how many people died from dysentery on that trail, but there were many. This just goes to show the vital importance of clean water.
And it wasn’t until I experienced the effects of dysentery that I truly became grateful for the ability to have access to clean water.
We can be grateful, or we can be miserable—it’s our choice.
Dysentery isn’t something that I ever thought I would say I have—but I have it. And because I have it, it has caused me to think about how incredibly fortunate we are to live in this country.
I don’t have to think about where I’m going to get my next drink of water because I have access to it any time I want it. When we drink water out of a faucet, we’re not going to get sick.
Of course, there are some exceptions in the United States. But for the most part, our water is safe. And that is something I am incredibly grateful for.
Because of the dysentery, I am currently on a high dose of antibiotics, and I’m eating very basic food. But I don’t feel sorry for myself that I got sick.
Dysentery has helped me to feel even more grateful that clean water isn’t something we have to think about on a daily basis.
In the United States, we are so fortunate to have our basic needs met. I recognize that there are those who still struggle. But for me, this experience has helped me to see the good things I already have that I may not have even recognized.
We can thrive in the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Seeing how other countries live and thrive even when they have so many more struggles to overcome really opens my eyes to the world around me.
We have the ability to thrive in any circumstance if we learn to appreciate what we already have.
Each country has its own set of problems, but they also have their own unique beauty and gifts that benefit the rest of the world.
Our trip to the Amazon was an amazing experience, with so many treasured memories made there. It’s something we won’t soon forget.
The people there are happy people, and they have learned to adapt to what they have been given in life.
If they can be grateful for what they have, we certainly can be grateful for the things we have, too.
Even with all the things going on in our country, I feel very fortunate to live in the United States.
I have a home, a family, a career I love, friends who support me, and so many modern conveniences.
For all these things—I am grateful.
What are you grateful for? I challenge you to make a list and review it often.
Because the more grateful we are, the happier we will be.