On Gratitude

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. — Melody Beattie

My granny’s home attendants always marveled at her habit of saying “Thank you.” Whether you gave her a piece of tissue to wipe her nose, some duck sauce to pour over her food, or a bath, she always said “Thank you” with the sweet and sincere gratitude of a child being given candy.  Granny truly appreciated what she had received, and you felt her love and thankfulness in each quiet “thank you.” Little did her home attendants know, granny had spent a lifetime cultivating an attitude of gratitude. She used to say, “God, you’ve been so good to me that if you never give me another blessing, I’ll still say ‘thank you.’” From the time I was a little girl, granny and I would each write two letters to God every New Year’s Eve: one thanking God for everything he had done for us that year, and the other detailing our prayer requests for the upcoming year. “How can you ask God for something when you haven’t even bothered to thank him for what he’s already given you,” granny would tell me. Afterwards, we would place our letters in a Bible, kneel side by side shortly before midnight, and pray until the New Year arrived. Like everyone else, granny had her share of trials and tribulations. But, she never forgot to say “Thank you.”

Thanksgiving and the end of the year aren’t the only times we should give thanks to others and the universe for our many blessings. Gratitude is the price we pay for living and partaking in all that has been bestowed upon us. When we fail to appreciate what we have, we take our blessings for granted and assume that those blessings will always be there. Simply put: a lack of gratitude is a slap in God’s face. No matter how hard life gets or what funk we may be in, there is always something for which to be thankful. You may not be satisfied with your job, but at least you have one in a time when many people are unemployed and no new job is in sight. You might want to live in a different neighborhood or a better house, but at least you have a roof over your head. You might wish you had a new car, but at least you have a car and the ability to pick up and go whenever the mood strikes you. Although you might wish you had a spouse/significant other, you could be in an abusive or unsatisfying relationship. You may have lost a loved one, but you were blessed to have had them in your life at all. You might not possess the same talents as someone else, but you have your own unique gifts. There is ALWAYS something for which to be grateful. Granny used to say, “Let every day be Sunday and the Sabbath will have no end.” In the spirit of the season and my wonderful granny, “Let every day be Thanksgiving and the blessings will have no end.” This year, I think I’ll get a head start on my Thank You letter to God.

 Some of My Favorite Quotes on Gratitude:

What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it –would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have. — Ralph Marston

To live a life of gratitude is to open our eyes to the countless ways in which we are supported by the world around us. Such a life provides less space for our suffering because our attention is more balanced. We are more often occupied with noticing what we are given, thanking those who have helped us, and repaying the world in some concrete way for what we are receiving. — Gregg Krech

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. — Oprah Winfrey   

If you can’t be content with what you have received, be thankful for what you have escaped. — Author Unknown

It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment. — Naomi Williams

Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it. — Ralph Marston

The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings. — Henry Ward Beecher

There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.           — Author Unknown

“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is “Thank You” that will suffice.” — Meister Eckhart

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