Gratitude. The word gratitude continues to come to mind over and over. When I read this quote by Denis Waitly, “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude” there the word was again.

I checked the dictionary for the meaning of the noun gratitude: the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. Quality means the degree of excellence or fineness. So I would say gratitude is the deepest feeling of thankfulness.

I’ve been jotting down times I felt thankful, grateful and felt appreciative for things large or small that people have done for me. Here are examples: holding the door realizing it’s difficult to get my walker into the building or getting it up and down stairs. One time a couple parked next to me saw I couldn’t get my car started and they offered to jump start it for me. Another time a gentleman paid my ticket to the high school wrestling match just because he wanted to; his boys ran to hold the door open.

Many friends are concerned about me driving alone in bad weather or after dark, they let me know they pray for my safety. The list could go on but I think you get the idea.

I smile as I say “Thank you” and it always gets a smile from the person saying “You are welcome”. I receive a warm feeing of gratitude. I believe we both feel good about the experience.

I read somewhere “share your gratitude with someone then share it with God.”

This gave me the opportunity to share the special things I’ve been thankful for with you and God.

Amy Lorenzem, family and consumer agent, Golden Prairie District, wrote that gratitude helps people feel more positive. Psychology research shows gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.

So I hope my readers will experience moments of gratitude and realize it is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.

Opal Flinn is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.