Thanksgiving: An Attitude of Gratitude That Inspires Health

By Eric NelsonSome years ago, as I was walking through San Diego’s Balboa Park – the Spreckels organ pavilion to my back, the Museum of Art to my front – I found myself suddenly overcome by an almost overwhelming rush of gratitude that literally stopped me in my tracks. It lasted no more than 10 or 20 seconds, but within that brief moment it was as if everything I had to be thankful for, ever, paraded across my thought. My incredible family. My amazing friends. Opportunities to travel to extraordinary places around the world. My work, my home, my dog, my grade school teachers – you name it, I thought of it. All in under 20 seconds.

Even better than having so many things to be thankful for, however, was having something to be thankful to.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been inclined – by nature, I assume, but also through the encouragement of my parents and others – to see God as our always present and hugely generous source of good. Not material good, per se, but the kind of good that resides deep inside our hearts, unaffected and undiminished by whatever circumstances we might find ourselves facing that would try and convince us that, in fact, we have very little to be thankful for. A job loss. The passing of a loved one. Failing health.

Some might characterize this sense of God’s presence, God’s goodness, as nothing more than “peace of mind,” but I tend to think of it more in terms of divine assurance.