Saturday, July 15, 2006

Gratitude Makes Life Beautiful

My husband packed a picnic lunch and took me to a park for our anniversary. We ate on a picnic bench that was beneath a beautiful tree overlooking a river. Just as we began to eat, rain began to fall. He was concerned that our dinner was about to be spoiled, but I told him: I like the rain.
Still, I expected to get wet. Yet, remarkably, the tree kept us dry as we sat and watched the rain on the river. It was one of the most special meals of my life. I felt so close to nature and the setting was so beautiful. I wound up stepping out from under the tree to take pictures of the rain, which was warm. And surprise: I didn't melt. Instead, the raindrops on my skin made me feel lighthearted.

There is a saying: a person inside the forest can't see it because of all the trees.

It's true, when we are in the midst of something, it's hard to have perspective, to see what we're in.

Likewise, as we are living our lives - and they can be hectic and demanding at times - we can forget all that is working in them and see only the things that do not fit our expectations, seeing them as negatives and problems.

If we want sun, we curse the rain. If we want rain, we curse the sun. How much better it would be for our mental health if we blessed it all.

Most of us in North America have never experienced what it's like to live on two dollars a day or in a dirt-floored shack without electricity or running water. As a result we tend to take everything we have - our hot and cold running water, dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers, coffee makers, lights, televisions, stereos, lovely hot showers, paper towels, sweet smelling soap that we don't have to make ourselves, easy to clean linoleum floors, permanent press clothing and a whole lot more - for granted.

What we do notice are the glitches that don't please us, a raise in gas prices, the inconvenience of not finding a parking place as close to our destination as we'd like, and so on. And we complain, and sometimes bitterly.

It seems we have it so good that our perspective has been skewed so that little things seem like big problems.

Yet whatever we focus on will increase. That is spiritual law.

So let us not be like The Fisherman's Wife - always wanting more and complaining - and concentrate, instead, on gratitude for everything. We will benefit in two ways: by creating what we want, as opposed to what we don't want, along with releasing tension from our minds and bodies. That sounds worthwhile, doesn't it?

I Practice Gratitude Daily

Dear God,

By Your Grace, I practice gratitude daily.
You fill my heart with awareness of how blessed I am
As I see the silver lining in every "cloud" and give thanks.

I give thanks for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.

I give thanks for that parking spot at the far end of the parking lot,
because it means I have a car AND I am able to walk.

I give thanks that I have groceries to unload
because it means I can buy what I need.

I give thanks for my pile of laundry
because it means I have clothes to wear.

I give thanks for clothes that are snug
because it means I have enough to eat.

And I give thanks for all the services I use
and declare that paying for them is a joy.

Thank You:

For my heating bill, because it means I have been warm,
For my electric bill, because it means I have light at night,
For the income taxes I pay, because it means I am employed.

I rejoice in the alarm clock that goes off in the morning
Because it means I'm alive.

I bless the lady behind me in church who sings off key
Because it means I can hear.

I bless the complaining I hear about government
Because it means we have freedom of speech.

And I thank You, Almighty God, for my shadow
Because it means there is an abundance of Your Light.

By Your Grace, I practice gratitude daily.


Adapted from Prayerforce: 365 Days To A New life
Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gifts. 2 Corinthians 9:15

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Psalms 107:8

Give thanks always for all things unto God... Ephesians 5:20


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