Alive with Franciscan joy

Attitude of Gratitude

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Those who use Facebook no doubt noticed a number of friends posting daily notices (marked as "Day 1," "Day 2," etc.) this month, identifying specific things and people in their lives for which they are grateful.

In this season of giving thanks and preparing for Christmas, tens of thousands of people -- whether on Facebook or elsewhere -- are consciously stopping long enough each day to discern and write down at least one thing for which they are grateful.

The Facebook event is designed to remind us just how blessed we are, no matter what, how much for which we have to be thankful.

The "Attitude of Gratitude" movement has erupted on Facebook. Oprah Winfrey has featured the attitude of gratitude on more than one of her shows, especially during her final year broadcasting.

It is interesting to see how many people jump on the Facebook event or buy a book on the subject because others are doing it.  But don't we do it every day in some little way?  Sometimes when I find it hard to fall asleep at night I try to think of 5 things I am grateful for from the day.  They are personal and they are different every time, but no matter how difficult things seem, there is always something for which to be grateful.  This spiritual exercise always has a calming effect.

Gratitude is easy when life is good.  But when life is not so good, when we are suffering, gratitude for anything in life is harder to see.  And we might need someone to help us find things to be grateful for.

Praying, reading scripture, saying a mantra or silently meditating work to dissolve heaviness in the heart. It takes time; it takes patience; and it takes gratitude.

Practicing an attitude of gratitude -- for one's family, for one's career or for a sunny day -- makes you focus on God's many blessings.   There is so much more than one blessing a day, and it is not just a November thing. The practice of gratitude makes happy people.  It is a part of our faith and hopefully it is my attitude all the time.

Peace and all good -- Sister Laura