The Good Life, No. 1: Gratitude

This post is part of a new series which explores the freedom-loving mindset and the pursuit of a classically liberal lifestyle in Michigan. Comments are welcome. 

I’ve been learning a lot about gratitude recently, and in a particular way from two  of conservatives’ favorite books, Hannah Coulter and Love and Responsibility. Both of these books discuss giving thanks and the importance of doing so. This message resonates a little more today, given that we observed Memorial Day yesterday.

Horton Camp, Michigan

When it comes to supporting our military, however, it’s easy to slip past gratitude and into arguments over polarizing topics like the draft, torture and terrorism. We don’t always fully appreciate the people – the individual human persons – who sacrifice to give us the freedom to discuss such topics, or safe places to hold such discussions.

That’s the thing about gratitude: you won’t feel it unless you’ve got something that really means something to you. Here are some suggestions for those looking to refresh the importance they place on appreciating our veterans:

1. Learn something about Michigan’s military history. Knowing what it is that you give thanks for is an important part of demonstrating a genuine gratitude.

2. Visit one of Michigan’s war memorials, or our state’s military museum. A list of memorials by county can be found in three parts: here, here and here. (Or at least look at the pictures.)

3. Look for opportunities like this one to volunteer with Michigan vets. Get to know them, and their stories.

4. Check with communities in your area, such as your church, to see whether you can involve yourself with the services or resources that they may make available to veterans or active personnel.

In closing, I’ll leave this thought on love and gratitude from page 171 of Hannah Coulter:

“You can’t give yourself over to love for somebody without giving yourself over to suffering. You can’t give yourself to love for a soldier without giving yourself to his suffering in war. It is this body of our suffering that Christ was born into, to suffer it Himself and to fill it with light, so that beyond the suffering we can imagine Easter morning and the peace of God on little earthly homelands such as Port William and the farming villages of Okinawa.”  (Berry, Wendell. Hannah Coulter. (Washington, D.C.: Shoemaker Hoard, 2004.)

Talk To Me: How does gratitude play into the way you forge relationships?


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