I have read and heard so much about gratitude the past couple of years, it seems to be a catch phrase. While working on an article for a magazine recently, my assignment was to write about a person, place or thing that has inspired me this past year with the most gratitude…..
Having spent many years in the Church, I am keenly aware of catch phrases–those words which are generalized and can be used or misused to “fit” the situation at hand, such as “grace”, “purpose”, “ministry”, “blessings”…..so I began writing about gratitude and discovered some Godly insight about the true meaning of the word.
Gratitude is somewhat of a spiritual awakening, not particularly inspired by a person or event in our lives but rather, something from within which causes us to be more aware of small acts, words or moments, opening our hearts to embrace and our eyes to see the significance of momentary beauty, like time standing still…in slow motion…the movement of the leaves on an autumn colored tree, the whispers in the gusty October winds, the warm smile of a friend, or the comfort of a hot cup of cocoa, warm mug in hand.
Gratitude happens from within and manifests itself in our outward countenance. It is understanding that the glass is half-full rather than half-empty during times of sacrifice and trial.
At our lake house there is an elderly gentleman who can be seen walking, cane in hand each day on the main road. The extraordinary thing about this fellow is that he exudes a spirit of gratitude. He smiles and waves at each passerby and locals have come to love his cheerful countenance. Come rain or shine he puts on a smile, picks up his cane and walks and waves.
Often, I have wondered what secret he possessed that would make him so blissfully cheerful! Gratitude has a face. I suppose if I am grateful to anyone at this moment it would be this man who inspired me to study his countenance and look deeper at the real meaning of gratitude. I can only aspire to be such a shining example of spiritual awareness and security. I imagine that he has walked through some valleys in his long life and recognize that we must all walk through valleys in life to truly appreciate the mountaintop.
Gratitude is acknowledging and understanding from deep within our souls that life is a great gift and that we have twenty-four hours in each day for which we can be grateful. True gratitude is a process of inner spiritual growth, awareness, and recognition of what God has done for us.
Find something to be grateful for today. Gratitude reduces stress. It’s hard to feel stressed when you are giving thanks. Try it! If you are going through stress, praise God and give thanks during the storm.
If you are interested in digging deeper and practicing the discipline of gratitude, my Gratitude workbook is an excellent addition to carry with you on your journey.
Your turn. Will you share what you are grateful for today???