Monday, November 22, 2010
A Circumstance-Proof Gratitude
Of all the qualities of character I aspire to, I believe that gratitude may be the most important. Gratitude is so basic and foundational. If we don't have it, then we will also likely lack other key qualities: faith, hope, love and joy.
The kind of gratitude I want is one that isn't dependent upon my circumstances. It's easier to be grateful when life is going well-- when we're well fed, housed, clothed and loved. But the test of genuine gratitude is when life goes against us-- when we fail or suffer pain, loss or disappointments.
The above-described "gratitude test" is one that I often fail. Yet, I want to do better. I want my gratitude to grow so large that it eclipses the negatives of daily living.
The key to gratitude is memory. When I'm feeling ungrateful, it is because I have forgotten about the gifts I have been given. The main gift to be grateful for is the gift of life. I did not create my life-- it has been given to me. Life is a gift of God's grace.
There are so many other gifts to thankful for: love, family, relationships, work, play, imagination, opportunities and more. This list could go on and on. Yet, when we're not feeling grateful, we have difficulty finding even one thing to be thankful for.
When I'm not feeling grateful, I still try to be grateful. That is, I try to remind myself of the gifts mentioned above. Our life circumstances change constantly. I want a gratitude that transcends these circumstances. I don't believe this desire is impossible, but neither is it easy to achieve. Grace can always evoke gratitude, if we will open our eyes, mind and heart to it.