The Gift of Gratitude


My friend and I recently went on a road trip to visit a mutual friend. Someone who we have not seen face to face in years, we have stayed close with calls, texts, written words and prayer. The travel time and then the time that we all spent together was amazing, wonderful, fabulous, and uplifting all rolled together.


My main reflection around this trip is gratitude. I am so grateful for “just about” every little bit of time we had together. I am not grateful that a truck’s blown tire hit our car and damaged it. (Note-only the car was hurt in this incident.) I am also not grateful for the really L-O-N-G wait at the ice cream shop, did I mention that it was long? But... I should be grateful because the three of us were together and we talked the entire time, so maybe I should say that - I am not grateful for having to stand for a really long time in order to get some very special and delicious ice cream. Actually, upon further reflection, I can honestly say that the ice cream was worth the wait.

At the end of the day, I am truly grateful for the trip, from the planning (I did not do most of that - Thanks friend!) to our safe arrival home. ((except the truck tire incident, I struggle to find gratitude in that.(ok I guess that I am grateful that is all that happened and it was not worse.))


Henri Nouwen wrote, “Gratitude goes beyond the 'mine' and 'thine' and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.” Living gratitude as a discipline is what we do when we practice the Daily Examen that Henrieta and I have been sharing in our recent blogs. The trip, with my friends, was a very special gift in my life. One that I am thankful for and remember with joy.


I invite you to join Henrieta and I in the discipline of gratitude and see life through a lens of love and joy.


Reflections


· What comes to mind when you read Henri Nouwen’s words “all that I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy”?


· Think of a time that you have struggled in your life. Take some time to examine it through a lens of gratitude. How has your feelings of the experience changed?


· Do a body check, take a minute to focus on your entire body, your energy level, your heart beating and your sense of awareness. Now quickly come up with 8 things that you are truly grateful for. Do another body check, what has changed? Are you feeling lighter in mind and body? More relaxed? Are you smiling?

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