July 19, 2012

On Gratitude

Sometimes we forget just how amazing our lives are!  We live in a time and place in history which enjoys the greatest physical wealth, technological advancement, creature comforts, and freedom of every kind that ever has been known to the human race in all of human history.

Wow!  I mean really.  WOW!

I thought of this today as I was loading my clothes washing machine.  "Wow," I thought.  "I put my filthy wrinkled clothes in this magic hole, add some pixie dust, press a button, leave and do something else for 45 minutes, aaaaaand.....*Ta-Da!*  My clothes all have been cleaned!"


I thought of this as I filled all the kids' cups with fresh water from the faucet.  Running, cool, clear, free water.  I used to work for an organization that helped people in third world countries who had to walk as much as four miles, one way, to obtain potable water.  And that was just for whatever they could carry back home on their heads.

Not me.  I use the energy it takes to raise my little finger, aaaaaand..... *Ta-Da!*  Water (hot OR cold!) endlessly pours from this magic spring right inside my very own home!


Okay, so you get the idea.

Sometimes, however, it's hard to maintain our sense of gratitude when the laundry (although we are grateful for its modern facilities) litters several rooms in small mountains, and seems positively endless.  And the kids (although we are grateful for the blessing that they are) are like a pack of piranhas, whose needs seem positively insatiable.

It's easy on days like this to get bogged down in the hectic pace and multiple responsibilities of our lives.  It's easy to forget the great comforts, privileges, and graces that we enjoy every day.  It's easy to grumble about it (in the immortal words of Jimmy Buffett) when "the doggies were a-yellin', the children were a-bitin'!"

It's easy to forget to be grateful.

I'm not suggesting that any of us can be a perpetual Pollyanna of gratitude.  (Just ask my kids -- I seem to have been on the warpath lately.)  However, just the fact that you REALIZE you should be grateful, is the beginning of an act of humility and gratitude.

The solution?

When your life or your schedule is an absolute whirlwind, which can be draining on anyone in any situation, take a moment -- just one, quiet moment -- to pray in your heart, several times throughout the day, a "thank you" for some of the most mundane things you have (e.g. - "Thank you, Lord, for running water in the house," "Thank you, Lord, for the freedom to practice our religion without fearing for our lives," "Thank you, Lord, that my adventurous son did not necessitate yet another trip to the emergency room today," etc.).

Pick anything!  You soon will find yourself well on your way to LIVING gratitude, and having a cushion of thanksgiving to fall back upon when things get hectic and tough!

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