Awash in Gratitude

28 03 2012

BY BARBARA HOWARD, Independence, Missouri, USA

Gratitude is the open door to abundance” was the message on my Yogi tea bag. That small piece of paper holds an honored place at the bottom of my computer, reminding me of the power of living every moment with a grateful heart.

Whatever the circumstances of one’s life, something—sometimes seemingly insignificant—can awaken a grateful response.

When our granddaughter, Grace, was a toddler, she insisted on saying the blessing at meals. Each time, she’d fold her hands, look out at those who were seated and ask, “So, what are we ‘sankful’ for today?”

We discovered this was the way her church school class began each Sunday. A quiet time first, followed by a thankful prayer time. The children learned that everything in their lives was, in some way, a gift. The litany of thanks at our table made each of us keenly aware that what we ate came to us from the hands of those we’ll probably never know. In this we were reminded there are those to whom God calls us whose needs are far greater than our own.

Gratitude is a spiritual practice that can begin each day. Waking up to life, to the newness of beginning again, one can lie still, wordless, and simply feel grateful. Breathing a prayer of gratitude for life itself and a new beginning is a way of acknowledging the divine presence. Silence and stillness refresh the spirit.

A busy schedule with family needs can be distracting or offer a rhythm of thanksgiving. Moving into the bustling activity with a sense that each person is a gift, each task an opportunity, brings a new perspective to what otherwise can be a stress-filled time. One’s own sense of calm assurance of a loving Creator brings a dimension of order to what otherwise might be chaos.

While this might seem impossible to busy parents with economic burdens and busy schedules, one “career woman-mother-wife-daughter-of-aging parents” described her daily routine of gratitude as “the key to peace in the midst of chaotic uncertainty.”

New opportunities arise every day to see how “walking in gratitude” awakens us to the richness of being alive. In the sound of birdsong, the fragrance of cooking food, the laughter of children, we are made grateful for the endless flow of simple gifts in our lives. We give thanks to the generous God who calls us to live with open, gracious, compassionate hearts.



One response

29 03 2012

Barbara – I always like your thoughts. M

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