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Cancer or Not, An Attitude of Gratitude

I read a story about heaven that showed hundreds of angels busily working in an office processing thousands of prayer requests from Earth. The angel guide showed the visitor to another office where one angel sat at a desk doing nothing. The visitor asked about the angel's job. "This angel's job is to process thank-yous to God," was the reply. Ouch. I sometimes forget to thank God for many of my blessings also.

A friend encouraged me to keep a gratitude journal. Each day, I list a person, thing, or event that makes me thankful. Here are a few things that I have listed.

  1. I could retire after a long career, so now that I have blood cancer, I can rest as needed.
  2. My primary care physician was proactive after observing my complete blood counts. She referred me to an oncologist who followed my counts for almost a year, then ordered a bone marrow biopsy.  Because of their dedication, they diagnosed my blood cancer in the early stage of low risk.
  3. My family and friends are supportive.

Don't be a Debbie Downer!

Have you ever watched those skits on Saturday Night Live about Debbie Downer?  We laugh because we know someone who acts like that. Debbie Downer is a fictional character (we hope!) played by Rachel Dratch. This character first appeared in 2004 on SNL. Debbie is a miserable person who makes others feel bad by making negative comments.

Here's an idea for Saturday Night Live, have Debbie Downer and the character of Pollyanna meet. Pollyanna is an optimistic young lady from a children's book by Eleanor H. Porter, first published in 1913.

Debbie Downer vs. Pollyanna

Debbie Downer would whine, "Oh, I had to walk almost a mile to get here! I had to park so far away!"

Pollyanna would say, "Oh, walking is such good exercise! The fresh air will do me good!"

Debbie Downer would whine, "I am so tired of waiting for my appointment! I am so bored, I could scream!"

Pollyanna knows the doctors are busy; she brings a book to read or something to do while she waits. This way, the time passes quickly.

Debbie Downer finds out that she has blood cancer and falls apart, saying, "Life isn't fair, then you die!"

Pollyanna finds out that she has blood cancer, and she, too, has her moments of fear, but she makes a plan to live. Pollyanna has an attitude of gratitude!  Although she might NOT live any longer than Debbie, her life quality will be better.

Studies show that people who demonstrate gratitude improve their health, enhance the quality of their relationships, reduce depression, and are generally happier. In other words, don't be a Debbie Downer!

The story I told at the beginning of this article was not biblical. I often have to remind myself that some of my ideas about Heaven come from a Debbie Macomber novel or an episode of Touched by an Angel. However, this is biblical: "Give thanks in all circumstances." I Thessalonians 5:18.

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