Embracing Gratitude as a Path to Happiness

My father passed away in December of last year. It was a shock to our family. I know a lot of you can relate. Unfortunately, we all become a member of that fraternity at some point in our lives, but there is so much experience gained by going through life challenges. This is one takeaway I want to share with you today.

Preparing my talk for dad’s memorial service was overwhelming.  I decided to reach out to the people whose lives he had touched to gain perspective on the impact he should be remembered for. You see, dad was a football coach at the University of Delaware for over 50 years; the effect he had on his players was almost incalculable. I reached out to Tom DiMuzio, his quarterback for the Blue Hens in the late 60’s, and he expressed his gratitude for the gifts dad gave in the way of life lessons. He said, “David, I feel my life has been a bit like a roulette wheel. Stopping at times for me to gain some wisdom or perspective. My roulette wheel stopped many times on your dad. His wisdom and lessons were there for me even if I didn’t recognize it until later. I would not be the man, father or husband that I am today unless my roulette wheel had stopped on your dad.” As I continued talking to his former players, I realized they were unified in their gratitude for the life lessons learned through dad. That was so comforting for me and my family – and it made me wonder.

How many of us, regardless of our faith, have questioned the randomness of life at times? I realize now, I spent more focused time on why my roulette wheel stopped and not who it stopped on. When you remember who it stops on, you celebrate gratitude in your life. Then you begin recognize the times someone’s roulette wheel stopped on you. It could be your spouse, children, friend or a coworker. Are they grateful their roulette wheel stopped on you?

Gratitude is one of the quickest paths to happiness and one of the greatest gifts in life. You can be grateful for those who have given to you but also recognize how grateful you can be by giving to others. I am waiting for the next roulette spin and hope you will too.  

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