Our country and the world seem to be in chaos all of the time these days: extreme weather events, political upheaval, deep divisions among people with different ideologies, wars, racial discrimination, starvation in many parts of the world, mass shootings and on and on. How can we be grateful? Yet, there are things I am grateful for tucked in among the anger and hopelessness. I have to stop sometimes and put aside the negatives for just a while and bask in the joyfulness that somehow bubbles up in me if only for a moment.

The things I am grateful for are large and small, all of them important, though. I’m going to list a few things here:

a loving family
very good friends
my life as it is
reasonable health (for my age)
my warm, comfortable home
the resources to put food on my table
fall is here (my favorite season that has been especially good this year)
the ability to engage in activities I enjoy

I could go on and on. I have a good life. It is the time of year that we often take stock and think about the things that make us happy. Sometimes we are brought up short by terrible things happening around us, maybe not to us, but things that affect us and our ways of life. What can we do? What should we do?

We can be kind. We can try to understand how someone else may be feeling and give them space to be who they are. We can love fiercely. We can give of ourselves and resources to causes that may help change the world. We can care.

In this season of Thanksgiving, let’s find things to be thankful for and do something that makes the world just a little better.

Make your own list of things you are grateful for. Spend some time basking in feelings that the list creates in you, then act on those feelings to help improve the lives of others.

Write a love poem or essay. It doesn’t have to be a romantic love poem/essay, but one that honors someone about whom you care deeply. Then, if you’re comfortable, share it with that person.