I was reading an article and mistakenly read “gratitude degrees” instead of “graduate degrees”. At first, I just thought, “oops! Freudian slip!" But then I realized it’s an interesting juxtaposition of words. Are there degrees of gratitude? How many different ones can I imagine?
What about degrees on a thermometer? I pictured one of those large wooden cutouts organizations use to indicate progress toward a goal. If I measured my gratitude in degrees of temperature, would it hover somewhere near the bottom or burst out the top?
Next I considered geometry - the degrees of a circle. Ninety degrees would be two pieces of pie or a right angle. A half moon would be 180 degrees. Three hundred sixty degrees is a complete circle, like one of the rings on your finger. How would the measure of my gratitude be described geometrically?
An expansion of the geometric idea would be geographic. Degrees of longitude and latitude. In this way, I can pinpoint with precision the places I’m most grateful for and the location of my family celebration. (I’d hate to miss those pieces of pie…)
The last one was the most obvious, given what I’d been reading - college degrees. What degree would I be granted upon examination? A Bachelor’s degree? (For some reason a BS in gratitude doesn’t really appeal.) A Master’s degree would be great. I’d love to be able to say that I’ve mastered gratitude, but I think I still have some work to do. I’m not even sure what a Doctor of Gratitude would involve. Do you know anyone who’s achieved that level of gratefulness?
I appreciate you indulging me in this exploration of gratitude. However you choose to measure it, whether it’s lukewarm, angular, circular, geographic or advanced degree, I hope you have plenty for which you are grateful this Thanksgiving Day.
I know I do.
Full moon - 360 degrees.
Shirley K. Weyrauch
I love reading, writing, and photography! Spending time with my family and friends around the kitchen table is about the best occasion I know. I'm just beginning to stretch my creative wings, so here's to gentle breezes and clear skies.