As I wrap up this Thanksgiving week, I am reflecting on how gratitude plays out in my every day. I don’t want to be someone who focuses on Thankfulness because of a special day, but I would like each day to be special because I am grateful.
And so as I consider what provokes gratitude in my heart and life, I am aware of a few things.
Stillness provokes gratitude in my heart. I am going to be 45 this week. I can honestly say that 20 years ago, I was living a pace of life that did not allow me to understand and embrace gratitude. I believe that stillness nurtures gratitude. I am thankful that especially in the last 5 years of my life, I have embraced stillness and quiet and have experienced how gratitude grows in those restful spaces.
Honesty provokes gratitude in my heart. There is something about being honest about my joys and struggles that unites my heart with others. Allowing others to enter into my reality, both on good days and not so good days, brings about gratitude.
Empathy provokes gratitude in my heart. When I am willing to enter into the lives of others, I find that gratitude swells within my being. Sometimes that gratitude is part of walking in the valley with another and sharing space where honesty and empathy meet. Sometimes that gratitude is an awareness of the spaces in my own heart and life that I appreciate in a new way. I find it hard to nurture gratitude when I live in isolation.
Attitude provokes gratitude in my heart. There are some spaces in certain days where I consciously consider what an adjustment in my thought patterns could produce. I want to be a person who believes the best, sees someone’s strengths and speaks up for the one who may be misunderstood. There is a difference between an attitude of gratitude and a Pollyanna approach to life I want to be clear, when I refer to attitude of gratitude, it does not imply that life doesn’t also have very deep struggles. Grief and sorrow, relational conflicts and daily difficulties are very real. But without an attitude of gratitude, it would be easy to be miss the opportunity to remember that my heart can hold deep loss and sadness AND also finds spaces for gratitude.
Expression provokes gratitude in my heart. I have found some of the best words to speak in a day are
Thank You. I want to be intentional when expressing my gratitude. It can start at the restaurant I have breakfast in and carry through every place I stand in the day. Gratitude may shine through when I say Thank You. Perhaps gratitude is felt when I share how thankful I am that someone was the one to help me at the grocery store because of their curiosity. Maybe it is the words I speak to my co-workers or saying thank you to my mom each time I leave the gym for being a work out buddy.
I hope that you will commit to more than a day or a weekend or a month of gratitude. I hope that you will join me in living every day with a grateful heart. I believe when I choose to live a life of gratitude, I am changed and I have a wonderful opportunity to invite others to good things as well.