In the midst of bitter electioneering words just one month ago, a miracle was taking place. Conjoined twins were successfully separated. That was a turning point in my addiction to election news. I had been checking “Breaking News” on Twitter and my computer for what seemed to be every other minute. My sister would text me as soon as she heard words tainting the election process such as, “It’s a rigged system.” But one day, it all stopped for me. The twins were in surgery and I became one breath with millions offering prayers for what we hoped would be a miracle.
During those hours of surgery, I seemed to have made a cold turkey break from the media. Today, one month later, news of what appears to be their miraculous recovery is reason for gratitude and celebration.
After a 27-hour surgery on October 14, Dr. James Goodrich, known as the leading expert on craniopagus surgery, could rest. In the United States approximately 10-20 babies for every million births are reportedly joined at the cranium. Today we are seeing photos of parents smiling at the twins who are now individual babies, Jadon and Anias McDonald, along with Aza, their three-year-old brother.
According to CNN, which gained exclusive rights to the story, today we are also seeing photos of the two boys who are seeing each other for the first time. And they tell us that the children’s parents, Nicole, 31, and Christian, 37, are urging people inspired by their sons to use that energy to do good for others. For separated twins' parents, a special Thanksgiving.
What does all this tell us? We can find gratitude. Even a divided nation which appears to be clouded by a person whom half the electorate believes lacks dignity and wisdom, miracles and kindness shine. Here are some thoughts gleaned from my earlier interview with Robert A. Emmons, PhD, professor of psychology at University of California at Davis. He has elevated gratitude into scientific study and practical action.
Four steps to gratitude
Smile: Begin and end your day with a smile. What if you don't feel like smiling? For today, think of the miracle babies, their parents, the physicians, nurses, support staff and the babies themselves.
Make a gratitude visit: Make an unexpected visit to someone who needs you. And if you cannot go in person, send a little thought gift.
Say "thank you": So often we take little kindnesses for granted. Someone holds the elevator for us or opens a door. A person in line sees we have only two items and lets us get ahead. We often see this happen, and oftentimes the person who receives the gracious gesture simply nods his or her head, or does nothing, and continues talking on a cell phone rather than saying the words "thank you."
Send thank you notes: Find a place in your home to turn a small table into a gratitude desk. Leave a basket filled with notes and send them often. Gratitude in Happy Times and Sad Ones.
The attitude of gratitude is like a miracle. Professor Emmons pointed out:"Gratitude is an attitude, not a feeling that can be easily willed." Even if you are not satisfied with your life as it is today, he said that "if you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. It is like improving your posture and as a result becoming more energetic and self-confident." He added:
“Attitude change often follows behavior change. By living the gratitude that we do not necessarily feel, we can begin to feel that gratitude that we live."
If we start now expressing gratitude, in happy times and sad ones, every day will become a day of thanksgiving, a day of healing.
Copyright 2016 Rita Watson