I am thankful I went through puberty. I am thankful I went to grad school. I am thankful I had my wisdom teeth pulled. I am thankful I had my gallbladder out. Why would I be thankful for these awkward and somewhat painful experiences?
You see, the Oxford Dictionary defines the word thankful as “pleased and relieved.” This puts the word more in the past-tense. Something that has happened, not really something that is happening or being felt.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word grateful as “showing an appreciation of kindness.” This makes being grateful more an action. Something you’re currently experiencing and finding motivation from.
When I was in college I attended Trinity Episcopal Church, and every year at Lent, Father Lamb would suggest rather than giving up something for 40 days, we should start a new habit. Something that benefits our fellow human or other creatures on earth. Start donating, start volunteering, start giving in some fashion and do it for 40 days and nights, so that it becomes engrained and we do it all year long.
So, I would encourage you, as you gather around the table on Thursday, rather than saying what you have been thankful for, tell everyone there what you are grateful for and what you’re going to do about it!