It is not uncommon to see individuals sharing what they are grateful for on facebook in either word or image. The book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp has inspired thousands to consider what truly brings them lasting joy in their lives and her website offers space for people to share the gifts they are experiencing in their own lives. It seems that gratitude is catching, at least in some spaces.
As I seek to offer prayers of gratitude this month, I feel challenged by the words of Adele Ahlberg Calhoun who states,
Gratitude is a loving and thankful response toward God for his presence with us and within this world. Though "blessings" can move us into gratitude, it is not at the root of a thankful heart. Delight in God and his good will is the heartbeat of thankfulness (Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, 29).For me the challenge here is to recognize each moment, each breath as gift. To recognize that the very presence of God within and around me is enough. For someone who is naturally more on the pessimistic end of the spectrum, perhaps it would make more sense for me to start with a gratitude journal or something like the 1000 Gifts Challenge, but I am also aware of my potential need to keep track, or to tally up my blessings and weigh them. Perhaps I will note things I am grateful for, and share them with others at some point along the way, but I want my starting point to be with gratefulness for each breath.
As a way of centering myself and entering into this practice with intention, I've chosen a song to start each day. The particular song I've selected never fails to draw me into gratitude for God's presence, and for the presence of those around me. I pray that this month will be one of centering my attention on the gift of being, and the presence of the one who simply is.