Monday, November 21, 2011
In the entryway of my friend’s home are the words of George Herbert: “O Lord thou hast given so much to me. Give me one more thing, a grateful heart.” Gratitude reminds us that every good thing we enjoy is a gift from God. It teaches us that although we are everything to God, and He wants to bless us with peace. All that He asks is that we choose to live in a spirit of gratitude.
Gratitude produces a spirit of peace in our hearts and homes. It offers hope, happiness, and contentment to those who choose it. Meister Eckhart understood this when he wrote, “If the only prayer you ever say in your whole lives is ‘thank you,’ it is enough.”
Gratitude creates peace in eight simple but profound ways:
When we show gratitude, we stop comparing ourselves with others. As we focus on the blessings we enjoy, we fail to notice if others have more, accomplish more, or do more than we do. We recognize that we are richly blessed and that the gift of peace is a priceless one. You cannot buy peace in a store. It is freely given when our hearts are filled with thanksgiving.
When we are grateful, we live in the moment. We do not reflect on what we lacked in the past or what we desire in the future. Today’s blessings are enough. Thornton Wilder said: “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
When we express gratitude, we celebrate the good in ourselves and others. When we notice the kindness, generosity and compassion of others, we overlook their weaknesses and frailties. Everyone has some quality or gift for which we can be grateful. Even our enemies become our teachers when choose forgiveness instead of bitterness.
When we show gratitude, we savor the simple blessings of life. As we enjoy the beauty of a sunset or the smile of a child, we realize that we are rich indeed. Each breath we take is a gift from God, and there is always something for which we can be thankful. Buddha said, “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.”
When we express gratitude, we remember that a Higher Power loves us. As we thank God for the blessings we receive, we invite His Spirit and His love into our hearts. His love fills us with happiness and peace. His love can heal the world when our hearts are knit together in love for one another.
When we are grateful, we remember that we receive more than we give. We can never outdo God in giving.
Even the most generous person cannot match the bounties of God’s endless goodness. The air we breathe, the light and water that nourishes each plant, the food we eat, each precious moment on earth is a gift from God. As we attempt to repay Him for His bounteous gifts, He immediately blesses us, and we are constantly in His debt. God blesses us so abundantly and merely asks for our gratitude—and our hearts filled with love for Him and for others.
When we show gratitude, we delight in the mercies that God shows us. God loves to forgive His repentant children. He waits to give us those things that will help us become more like Him. Although life may be difficult, He wants us to learn from our struggles and sorrows. As we ask for His help and trust in His loving kindness, He gives us the strength to overcome our weaknesses. He wants to envelop us in the arms of His love.
Melodie Beattie wrote: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity….It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Happy Thanksgiving! May you find peace this day and always.
© Carol Brown