“Most of us forget to take time for wonder, praise and gratitude until it is almost too late. Gratitude is a many-colored quality, reaching in all directions. It goes out for small things and for large; it is a God-ward going.” ― Faith Baldwin
Most of us know someone who seldom expresses gratitude. Perhaps she is a perfectionist. The weather is never just right—it’s too hot, too cold, or too windy. Their holiday gatherings? Either too many people attend or too few.
It can be hard to feel grateful in less-than-perfect circumstances.
If there’s a roof over our heads, we have a reason to be grateful. If there’s food on the table, we have a reason to be grateful. If we have our health, we have a reason to be grateful. If we have someone who cares for us, we have a reason to be grateful. If we have someone we care for, we have a reason to be grateful.
Sometimes we have legitimate reasons for not feeling grateful. Perhaps you have a life-threatening illness or have recently lost a loved one or you are unemployed. Circumstances like this can be wrenching, and it is natural to not feel grateful when we are going through tough times. I empathize, for I’ve faced tough times too. (See Dealing With the Doldrums). During such times, it is difficult to appreciate people who tell us to look at the bright side.
But what does it do for us if we stay in a position of feeling sorry for ourselves? When we’ve gotten through the initial trauma, is there something for which we can be grateful?
I’ve mentioned my friend Tina in other blog posts. When she was near the end of her life due to cancer, she told me she wanted to write a book. It would be called The Gift of Cancer. I was incredulous and asked her how she could feel that way. She said cancer had brought her several gifts. She’d learned what was important in life. She’d learned to pamper herself now and then. She’d been the recipient of so much goodness from people who brought her food, came to visit, and prayed for her. She was reconciled to someone with whom she’d had a petty disagreement. She’d learned how much she meant to people. She’d developed a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
Tina never got a chance to write that book. But I hope her way of thinking can still benefit someone. Tina accepted the biggest challenge of her life with grace. If she could be grateful for cancer, what can we be grateful for?
Another friend lost her son last spring while he was serving in the armed forces of the United States. Today she wrote, “I’m thankful for the tremendous support of family and friends especially this year.” I admire her ability to express gratitude while dealing with her sorrow.
My wish for you and me is simple. May we be grateful every day of our lives.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
What are you grateful for? Is gratitude difficult for you right now?