“You simply will not be the same person
two months from now after
consciously giving thanks each day
for the abundance
that exists in your life.
And you will have set in motion
an ancient spiritual law:
the more you have and are grateful for,
the more will be given you.”
Sarah Ban Breathnach
Take a deep breath.
Slo-o-o-owly let the air leave your lungs while concentrating ONLY on this one act of taking a breath.
Now you’re a little relaxed and ready to hear this…
Life is not always easy, but you should be grateful anyway.
I’ll wait while my family recovers from passing out at my previous sentence. Yeah, I will admit that I really stink at being grateful in spite of the hardships. I just want to crawl into a cave and disappear rather than face the unhappy, scary or painful situations of life. So this advice is what I know I “should” do, but fail miserably at doing well.
When a stressful life situation interrupts your steady, happy progression, sometimes the only thing you might be capable of doing is to sit down and make a “gratitude list.”
Let’s be sure that we know the definition of gratitude before we go any further. Gratitude according to most dictionaries is the state of being grateful and having thankfulness. With further research, grateful is being appreciative of benefits received.
Let’s see if I can make a gratitude list while suffering in the middle of the huge mess that is currently my life. I am grateful for…
- The sacrifice by Heavenly Father of his only begotten son in the flesh, namely Jesus Christ.
- My body, glow-in-the-dark skin and red hair
- Comfortable home
- Delicious food
- Our vehicles
Phew! I need to take a break because what just happened to me, may happen to you too. I had no other thoughts interrupting my mind until I got past the sixth item. That is because up until that point, there isn’t anything I would trade for any of the things listed. Like the credit card commercial says, they are priceless and I am extremely thankful for all of them. However, after number six, thoughts of people who get paid far too much and squander their funds on meaningless possessions started creeping into my mind. Feelings of resentfulness and even anger jumped into my nice list!
Yes, it bothers me that there are people losing their homes and going hungry in the streets while others live in thirty million dollar homes with twenty bedrooms that house only two people on a regular basis. The inequity just feels wrong and causes a whole lot of sadness to well up inside my heart.
That’s when I struggle with myself and I have to think about my Christian beliefs. We are molded by our experiences each day and since God is intricately involved in our learning, our hardships are by His design and our freedom to make choices. So in the midst of this schooling, do we continue to flow smoothly into a beautiful shape or do we fold under pressure?
Image: Prateek Dubey
I looked at my hands yesterday in the sunshine coming through the car window. These hands have done so much for me and are showing definite signs of aging. Not only are there a whole bunch of “almost” wrinkles, but the arthritis was so painful, I could not lift the cans off the shelf of the grocery store. Regardless of the pain I often just grin and bear it, I am still enormously thankful for my body. So to continue my gratitude list of things that I am thankful are part of my life…
- Mrs. Gallagher, my second grade teacher
- Strawberries that are grown in beautiful rows, warm and juicy
- White sneakers
- Police Officers
- Everyone that enters the military and protects my freedoms
- China plates with little blue flowers
- A stereo that rattles the window panes
Okay, I think you get the point. Write a gratitude list and keep adding to it. When life starts to get tough, read the list and add more to it! By making a concerted effort to recognize the good things in your life, you will experience a more upbeat and positive attitude.
As a result of the gratitude list and new found optimism, getting through a stressful situation can become a little easier to cope with and it will enhance your ability to smile through the trials.
who does not grieve
for the things which
he has not,
for those which he has.”