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The Challenge of being Grateful

Not to be egotistical, but I’m a big fan of my work. Now, I’m not talking about my acting work. Looking at myself 20, 30 years ago is absolute torture. Even the voiceovers on the food videos turn my stomach as I’ve always hated the sound of my voice. I’m referring to my blogs. In 10 Ways to Enhance Your Life, I talked about keeping a gratitude journal. I have failed miserably at the daily, but, it does remind me to continue to challenge myself. Being grateful is a challenge, especially with the images and sounds that flood my mind and I’m sure many of yours on the daily.

Why is hate the new ‘go to’?

The day this blog will be published, April 7, the United States Senate will vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 1st Black woman Supreme Court Justice. History. Senate to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court Thursday. Watching the Senate hearings leading up to her confirmation was embarrassing. The posturing and outright lies told by the right about the over-qualified judge leaves black people with a confirmation of our own. They hate us. They’ve spent centuries trying to oppress and deny rights to any who didn’t look like them. Another ceiling will be shattered Thursday. I’m so grateful to live to see this day it’s incredible. Like watching Obama get elected President.  I admit I’ll be a little teary.

Kill them with Kindness

The above video I saw on social media and I thought it was so touching. A father, picking his daughter up at the train station every night she worked late. She filmed him and made a compilation video. It reminded me of how my parents were there for every performance, sporting event and appearance I ever made. They flew to Toronto to see me act in a movie. To Denver to see me in this big play. I can feel their support even now and they’ve been gone for years. I’m so grateful for that. 


Family Matters

A large portion of my extended family live in Texas, which means we don’t see each other often. Though I try not to hold their choice of residence against themand it is a choice, again I’m grateful for social media. My cousin Davey and his tremendous wife, Tia, both HBCU Hampton graduates, just announced that their daughter, Camille, a high school senior, got into every college she applied to. She received a full scholarship to their alma mater, Hampton, for soccer. So, Texas not withstanding, I’m so proud of them and grateful to watch their success. From afar. Too much humidity. Bomb food though.


Travel is a gift

While I’ve never been to the Faroe Islands (pictured in the above video), I hope to someday. Admittedly, I’m still not ready to plan trips just yet, I’m grateful, however, to have been to so many places. On this blog, I’ve written about Cuba Hola CubaLast day with Hemingway, to Chile Chile-How the Andes almost claimed me, to Alaska This week we breathe – Alaska to Tokyo Black in Tokyo. Travel is a gift and a privilege and the memories that fill my head are for a lifetime. I remember my father taking early retirement at 62. We had a big celebration for him. Mom and Dad then proceeded to travel all over the world. Going on cruises, visiting friends in Europe, they were hardly ever home. My father died at 70. I’m so grateful he took that time to see the world with the woman he loved, never knowing it would only last 8 years. My mother used to say, “Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.” Facts.



These last two years have been truly surreal. As a result, I’m not sure how well I’ve dealt with it. I have learned to be grateful to still be here, while so many I know are not. For a variety of reasons. Relying heavily on my faith during these times, I was told growing up that “God never gives you more than you can handle.” Really God? Have you met me? That, being a running question I’ve asked many times over the last two years, survival comes with a gratitude of its own. “Still above ground!” my mother would answer when asked how she was doing. By anyone. From the time I was 5. I’ve totally stolen it. Thanks Mom.


big hugs from bff’s

Growing up in all-white neighborhoods the picture above could easily have been me and my best friend Jimmy H. A classmate, he came to my birthday party when I turned 7 and I introduced him to everyone as “my best friend Jimmy.” My current best friend, Ricky, lives in New York and we speak weekly. We’ve known each other for 37 years and I’m grateful for his friendship. I can write that because I know he’ll never read this. His brother might. He’s my favorite anyway. Never into TV and movies, he’s not been impressed by one thing I’ve ever done and I’m grateful for that. I think it’s important to have someone in your life who’s not afraid to tell you “no”. I wished that for so many of the people I worked with. Having “yes” people only in your life is lethal. Do you have a best friend? When is the last time you talked?




This is my 70th blog and I could not be more grateful. To you, my reader, I’m so grateful. Your generosity and kindness and willingness to read it are overwhelming to me. I started this for completely different reasons and it’s turned into something for which I take extreme gratitude and pride. For someone who is computer remedial at best, I’m astonished that these blogs even make it to the internet. To say thank you doesn’t seem sufficient. I have something really exciting to tell you in a couple of weeks/months, but, for now, I’ll just say “Muchas Gracias!”


What are you grateful for?


Isn’t that beautiful? Austria.

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  1. Michael E Thors says:

    Great read! Thanks Chris!
    And congrats to Camille and your extended family! You have such a talented family!

    Today marks and incredible day in our history. The lies, attacks and outright ridiculous arguments were embarrassing, upsetting and shocking but not surprising. Thanks in large part to the former commander in beef / mar-a lardo and his minions, this country has become so divided.

    But (regardless of how hard they try) there is no denying Ketanji Brown Jacksons confirmation is tremendous and I am optimistic that this momentous event in our history will lead to better days ahead. As much as they try to change the history books, there will be no changing this day in history.

    And thanks for your friendship to Rick! You’re right about him in that he’s not a movie goer or watcher but he did watch two films in his life; The Bodyguard and a decades old reel-to-reel film of him playing pee wee football and the ball bouncing off his helmet on a kickoff.

    You’ve been a great friend to him and your relationship is appreciated by him and his family!

    …Now, if I could only figure out who that “favorite” is. 🙂

    PS. If I have anything to say about it, he WILL be reading your blog today!

    • CB says:

      I’ve said it before Michael. When I read your comments, it feels like reading a veteran writers comments. Knowing you for so long, I know how much writing you’ve done and how good you are at it. Mar-a-lardo! Hilarious! The world needs more of Michael’s writings! Don’t deprive us, please!

  2. Laura Boccaletti says:

    Another great blog, Chris. I am grateful for them and for knowing you and I’m grateful in advance (and praying hard)
    for Judge Jackson’s confirmation.
    Your mother’s words will stay in my mind.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. Mike Thors says:

    Lol!! Thanks Chris! I appreciate your encouraging words. However I can’t take credit for “Mar-A Lardo”. That’s Jimmy Kimmels. Ok well, I can’t credit for it for more than a few hours. 😁.

  4. Gayle Wilhite says:

    “God never gives you more than you can bear.” Chris, I decided many years ago that I was a cream puff.’ That saying has become one of my mantras. I was born into a large loving family who cared about God, I had no physical or mental deformities to overcome and to top it off we were white, living in a middle-class area. Whenever I take time to look around me and see how many people in my age group are suffering from lack of human contact, I am so grateful to God for making me a “cream puff.”

    In the Late 1940s my brother. Frank, bought a home in Compton. When the real estate “Block-Busters” moved in in the early 1950’s Frank stayed put. In a about a year his was the only blue-eyed blond family on the block. Frank
    was raising three small boys, working full time, and going to college. Glenny, his wife was a housewife. Frank moved his family when he finished his schooling, got a better paying job, and needed a bigger house. Glennie law saved a picture of Stevie and a little girl in Kindergarten holding hands and grinning at each other.

  5. Miche says:

    Dear Chris for someone who’s never at a loss for words, this blog is so beautiful that my only response other than tears, is thank you.

    Thank You, Chris Birt, thank you…seventy times over!

    With loving gratitude,

  6. Helen Muci says:

    Hi Chris, I love the picture of the little dark-skinned boy running to hug his little white-skinned friend! It reminds me of the special friendship your Mom and I shared! She was my best friend. We could share anything with each other, knowing that it would not be passed on to anyone else. She was my best friend for many years. No one has ever taken
    her place. I’m looking forward to hugging her in heaven!

    • CB says:

      Such a beautiful comment, Mrs Muci. It brings back such special memories of how close you two were. It’s so nice to hear from you. Thank you for reading and commenting and supporting me from the beginning.