"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Thursday, July 5, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude

Have you ever been just reading along and all of a sudden something jumps off the page, enters your heart and over a period of time your life becomes unalterably changed?  Such is what happened when I read this passage from Brother David Stendle-Rast’s book, A Listening Heart. 

“… any given moment confronts us with a given reality.  But if it is given, it is gift.  If it is gift, the appropriate response is thanksgiving.  Yet, thanksgiving, where it is genuine, does not primarily look at the gift and express appreciation; it looks at the giver and expresses trust.  The courageous confidence that trusts in the Giver of all gifts is faith.  To give thanks even when we cannot see the goodness of the Giver – to learn this is to find the path to peace of heart.  For happiness is not what makes us grateful.  It is gratefulness that makes us happy.”  If I've read that paragraph once, I've read it a dozen or more times.

Olympian weight lifter Paul Anderson referred to it as “an attitude of gratitude.”  Like joy (in my previous blog entry), I believe it’s a choice.  But it’s also something for which I have prayed for decades.  “Lord, You have given me so much.  I ask for one thing more: a grateful heart.”

It is not surprising that several of the books I am currently reading are dialoguing with one another.  A Listening Heart by Stendle-Rast, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp, the small devotional book Dear Jesus by Sarah Young, and even a quote on the bottom of a recent email are interacting not only with each other but with me in such a way that I’m not even sure who is who and what is me.  But this I do know, God is calling me to be intentional about recognizing my “given reality” – my ordinary moments, if you will, and giving Him thanks.

And so I’ve taken the challenge of Ann Voscamp and have begun listing my 1,000 gifts.  I’ve chosen to go public via blog with it for two simple reasons.  One, it will hold me to somewhat of an accountability, and two, it’s my prayer that my “attitude” will somehow encourage others to see their given reality for what it is – a gift – and give thanks as well.

As I type just now, I catch a flutter in my periphery.  I look and spot this most beautiful swallowtail feasting outside my window....  Pure gift! 

Please join me in an attitude of gratitude as I journey on “Thankful Thursdays.”

Just an ordinary moment…

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