Tuesday, October 4, 2011
One Thousand Gifts
I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude this year. It was all sparked by reading about this book on a few friends’ blogs. I was really excited to read it although it ended up taking several months. I found the writing a bit too flowery for my tastes and hard to get through, but loved the concept of it. Like the writer, I struggle with finding joy in my life. Although I’m overall a happy person, it’s easy for me to find the negative in something and I often catch myself being more critical than I’d like. I think discontentment has become a bit of an epidemic in our culture. What’s the antidote? Thankfulness. And not just spouting off a few things we’re thankful for in our bedtime prayers... intentionally hunting for all the good gifts that surround us each day and taking time to acknowledge them.
This morning as I was getting ready to take a shower, I took off the lid to my shaving cream and out poured rusty water all over my freshly washed bathrobe. I was so annoyed and audibly let my frustration be known. After all I had just taken it out of the dryer and would have to throw it back in the wash. Then I caught myself. Seriously? This is what I’m upset about? So I immediately tried to think of things to be thankful for... the invention of the razor and shaving cream, clean water, a bathrobe, a washing machine and dryer (definitely not the norm in most of the world), time in my day to fit in a shower... the list could go on. That simple act of being thankful helped my attitude take a 180 degree turn in a matter of seconds.
But gratitude, at least for me, requires discipline, and disciplines require intentional practice. In the book, the author has been challenged by a friend to write down one thousand gifts that she observes around her and she’s been doing it ever since. Apparently it’s been quite life transforming. So when I finished the book this summer, I decided to try it. I bought a journal and left it open in my kitchen to write down things I was thankful for. Then September came, the journal got closed, never to be re-opened. I got to 17. But I’m ready to start again and intentionally work towards making gratitude a central part of my life. With Thanksgiving weekend coming up, what better time. I want to choose joy and see how my life changes because of it. Anyone want to join the hunt for one thousand gifts?