November is a special month as it brings the closing of the autumn season and prepares us for the approaching winter. But more importantly, November is a good month to reflect on all we are thankful for. Life is filled with ups and downs, and at times it may even be hard to find something we can give thanks for.
From his book The Little Book of Gratitude, author and professor of psychology at University of California, Davis, Robert Emmons looks at how expressing gratitude can actually improve our health through a three-pronged theory he calls ARC:
1. Gratitude Amplifies the good in our lives, that which we see in ourselves and others.
2. Gratitude Rescues by offsetting the chronic negativity we encounter from within and without.
3. Gratitude Connects us with each other, strengthening and solidifying relationships with friends, family, neighbors and coworkers.
I think that even in the hard times we can express gratitude. Between owning a restaurant, a catering business, a wedding and special events venue, taking care of a small army and my responsibilities as a tribal legislator, I stay pretty busy. I can go weeks at a time with only an occasional day to do absolutely nothing but rest and recharge. To help keep things in perspective in those times I reflect on a quote from President Teddy Roosevelt: “Extend pity to no man because he has to work. If he’s worth his salt, he’ll work. I envy the man who has work worth doing, and does it well … far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
Here are just a few of the things for which I give thanks. I’m grateful I have the desire and the ability to work, and I’m grateful that I have work and that it’s work worth doing. I’m grateful for exceptional employees and dedicated family members that help keep things running. I’m grateful for my wife, children and grandchildren. I’m grateful for my heritage and the privilege of serving in a community of more than 30,000 members called Citizen Potawatomi. And most of all, I’m grateful for my Creator, who loves me unconditionally and corrects me when I need correcting. (That is more often than not, by the way!)
I hope you are enjoying Native American Heritage Month and finding creative ways to celebrate your heritage. Nov. 4 marked the end of the two-month journey from Indiana to Kansas we know as The Trail of Death. It’s hard to imagine our ancestors finding any gratitude at that point in their lives, but we have endured, and for that we can be grateful.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! In these turbulent times, our joy is constantly under attack. Our hope is in Him who created us and gives us peace and the blessings for which we can be grateful.
Wisdom from the Word: “Go through his open gates with great thanksgiving; enter his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. For the Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and his faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation.” Psalm 100:4-5
Rande K. Payne/Mnedo Gabo
Legislator District 6
31150 Road 180
Visalia, CA 93292-9585