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Praise and thanksgiving

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.“  (Thorton Wilder)  

I gaze out the window. The sun is shining after days of pounding rain.  I am grateful for days of gloom as our Mother Earth needed a long refreshing drink.  Yet I am very grateful for today’s sunshine, its nourishing rays illuminating the beauty that is spring in Adams County.    

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I am thankful gratitude does not require me to shut out my other feelings, some of which are dark and painful. I am thankful gratitude does not banish my brokenness but allows me to better learn the lessons life has to teach.   I am thankful that gratitude offers a sturdy container in which to grieve and wrestle with my brokenness and this world’s pain.   I am thankful that gratitude provides the context for better accepting and responding to my experiences..

The practice of gratitude will always be a challenge for me as it’s easy to allow the hurts and fears of the moment to take over.  As a recovering control freak, I struggle to let go and let God.  I find it hard to step back and wait for things to unfold at the right time, not mine.  Yet, I also know that even in the worst of times,  life is absolutely amazing,   I am grateful that I’ve finally come to understand that my life’s work is loving this world, including its disappointments, heartaches, and happiness.  In the end, a meaningful life is not so much about obtaining or maintaining power, prestige, and possessions but giving and receiving love and paying it forward.

When I am caught up in fears about all the things that could possibly go wrong, and most likely will, I am grateful I can also appreciate the many unanticipated blessings that are also on their way.  As Henri Matisse and Claude Monet demonstrated in their wonderful impressionistic paintings, there are beauty and flowers everywhere for those of us who choose to see where they hide in plain sight.  Gratitude, after all,  is the simple act of acknowledging the good we already have in our lives.  In the end, gratitude is the foundation for abundance… physical, emotional, and spiritual.  Learning how to not just function,  but to live fully following my husband’s death,  has been a struggle.  Yet I can gratefully say I have come to this place in life where I am able to cherish gratitude as the doorway to wonder.  Being able to approach life with an attitude of gratitude is a gift more precious than gold.

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