A Season of Thankfulness in a Time of Pandemic

November 25, 2020
Jonathan J. Russell



Since celebrating that first Thanksgiving in 1621, our Nation has experienced many adversities and yet we have continued to find ways and reasons to be thankful. It is easy to be grateful when things are going our way. It is much harder, when life seems to be going badly.

According to Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, not only is a grateful attitude helpful in times of adversity, it is essential. “In the face of demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. In the face of brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope. In other words, gratitude can help us cope in hard times.”

Professor Emmons has offered several tips to help cultivate a grateful heart:

1)  Remember the bad, then look to see where you are now;
2)  Confront your own mortality, in order to reevaluate what is really important in life;
3)  Realize the power you have to transform an obstacle into an opportunity;
4)  Be grateful for that which is often overlooked; and
5)  Gratitude is a choice, regardless of one’s situation or circumstances.

Emmons went on to state that it is vital to make a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful. We can’t will ourselves to feel grateful, however, being grateful is a choice. Gratitude can provide a perspective from which we can view life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances.  Along these lines,  I am reminded of the movie Mask, and that great poem by Rocky Dennis, who suffered from craniodiaphyseal dysplasia:

“These things are good: ice cream and cake,
a ride on a Harley, seeing monkeys on a tree,
the rain on my tongue, and the sun shining on my face.
These things are a drag: dust on my hair,
holes in my shoes, no money in my pocket,
and the sun shining on my face.”

In this unusual Covid-quarantined Thanksgiving, the attorneys and staff at Drake, Hileman & Davis wish for you to receive the gift of perspective and a spirit of gratefulness, in spite of the situation you face. As many of our clients have found ways to the be thankful (see words from our clients here) in the midst of personally challenging circumstances, which they neither caused nor deserved, may you too find ways to cultivate the power of gratitude during this difficult season.