Happy World Gratitude Day!
Count your blessings. Thank someone. Pay it forward.
I couldn’t have imagined when I wrote Grateful: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks that what I learned researching a book would help me get through a global pandemic! During the last eighteen months, when I felt the most despair and the deepest pain of isolation, I remembered my own words and took them to heart:
Gratitude is resilience of sorts, the defiance of kindness in the face of anger, of connection in the face of division, and of hope in the face of fear. . . Gratitude empowers us. It makes joy and love possible. It rearranges the way we see and experience what is all around us. Gratitude makes all things new. It transforms how we understand what is broken and gives us the ability to act more joyfully and with hope. That is why gratitude is central to all the world’s religions. As a practice, it embodies the wisdom of humanity’s greatest spiritual teachers: the love of neighbor. Gratitude takes us from abstract belief to living compassion in the world. Gratitude is strongest, clearest, most robust, and radical when things are really hard. Really hard. All-is-lost hard.
Gratefulness isn’t easy and isn’t all hearts-and-flowers. It can be tough in tough times. But a dogged commitment to the giftedness of life can deepen our spiritual capacity to make it through circumstances that threaten to overwhelm us.
Being grateful didn’t end the pandemic; it wasn’t an escape hatch. Rather, it lowered my fear - and has enabled me to get through it, especially on the worst days.
You may need to be reminded of that today. Someone you know might benefit from a kind word of appreciation or the encouragement of “thank you.” And so, take time to count your blessings, thank someone, and pay it forward on this World Gratitude Day. Be part of a global tribe of gratefulness.
In spring 2020, Anne Lamott and I got together online and talked about gratitude (as part of a larger project for FaithLead). You can find two free audio excerpts of that conversation - “Spiritual WD-40” and “It’s Easy to Have Gratitude When You Get Want You Want” - by clicking HERE.
THANK YOU for being part of The Cottage. Your presence, comments, likes, shares, and financial support have meant a great deal to me in the last year. I’m very grateful.
When you are grateful, you are not fearful, and when you are not fearful, you are not violent. When you are grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people and respectful to all people. The grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people. A grateful world is a happy world.
— Br. David Steindl-Rast
I used to envy the simply grateful,
who, without needing
separation or loss,
would lift their heads
from their busy supper or book
and revel in the steam from a teacup
winding its slow way
to nothingness in the air,
or just the teacup
catching the window’s tiny
parallelogram of light.
— Sally Bliumis-Dunn
Let us rise up and be thankful,
For if we didn’t learn a lot today,
At least we learned a little,
And if we didn’t learn a little,
At least we didn’t get sick,
And if we got sick,
At least we didn’t die;
So, let us all be thankful!
— The Buddha (attributed)
Gratitude calls us to sit together, to imagine the world as a table of hospitality. To feed one another. To feast, to dance in the streets. To know and celebrate abundance.
— Diana Butler Bass
i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
— e.e. cummings
Like other forms of practice, gratefulness makes us more resilient and flexible, and also offers a way to frame and learn from everything that unfolds in our lives.
— Kristi Nelson