This year, I have struggled to develop a theme for my blog. We are already 3 months into the year and several weeks into Lent and I haven’t written a word for my blog! Now we are plunged into a new post-pandemic world and a reality that would have been unthinkable a year ago.
I am nurse, wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, in-law, writer, certified Zumba instructor, Jesus follower, Bible study leader, flute player, handball ringer, poet, storyteller, voracious reader, proud introvert, party-lover, homebody and world traveler. But one thing unites these diverse roles and interests that God has given me – gratitude. I am thankful for them! I am thankful for the people I have met through them. I am thankful for the opportunity to pursue them. I am thankful for the chances to serve and worship in these many different ways.
Most of those roles I described have changed dramatically in the past five days. School, church, and gym closed, trips cancelled, plans changed. Nonetheless I am thankful – thankful for the technology and creativity that allow us to connect and enjoy our interests in new ways.
What does gratitude mean? The technical definition from Dictionary.com is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
Gratitude is a healthy practice, increasing resilience, self-esteem, sleep, and empathy, and reducing heart disease, depression, loneliness, pain, and resentment.
Does that sound like a good idea to anyone right now in this time of anxiety and isolation?
Gratitude is a spiritual practice reminding us of our place in the world and God’s generous gifts to us. Look at King David. “Thou art my God, and I will give thanks to thee; thou art my God, I will extol thee.” (Psalm 118: 28). “I give thanks to thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify thy name forever.” (Psalm 86:12). “I will give thanks to thee, O Lord, among the peoples, I will sing praises to thee among the nations.” (Psalm 108:3).
Look at Paul’s letters. “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” (Philippians 1:3). “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” (Romans 1:8).”I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.” (Philemon 1:4).
Do you save your gratitude for Thanksgiving? Do you wait to express appreciation until the end of the event, the end of the year, until a going-away party? What if we have proactive gratitude? What if we appreciate that we have water in the glass, whether it is half full or half empty? What if we say thank you now, to those before us?
Each moment of gratitude is a pearl. Don’t let them slip away! Store them for later in a journal or a jar, give them to your friends and families and coworkers with spoken words or notes, and reflect on and savor them. Gratitude helps us see what we already have.
In her book Traveling Mercies, Annie Lamott says “Here are the two best prayers I know: ‘Help me, help me, help me’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’” I look forward to saying and praying a lot of thank yous this year… and I hope you’ll join me.
Share a pearl of gratitude below!