Today, I ate an uninspiring breakfast of cold cereal. Today, I spent 15 minutes on hold trying to get a doctor’s appointment. Today, my pedometer battery died, and I lost two days’ worth of unrecorded steps. Today, it rained most of the day. Today, a group using the church made the work day loud and messy.
It would be so easy to grumble about each of those things, but I would rather be grateful.
- Grateful that my kitchen has a supply of healthy cereal, and I’ve never known a day of hunger in my life.
- Grateful that I have access to health insurance and healthcare professionals.
- Grateful that I can walk and am so unencumbered by life’s big issues that I have enough free time and energy to track how many steps I take each day.
- Grateful that I have a roof over my head and a good raincoat to keep me dry in the rain.
- Grateful that my work in the church connects me to the noisy, messy world and makes both me and the world a little bit better.
Why be grateful?
- When I am grateful, I am looking outward, not inward.
- When I am grateful I am thinking of those who do not enjoy the privileges I enjoy.
- When I am grateful, I am more willing to give and to bless and to pray.
- When I am grateful, I can’t help but remember God.
But if I grumble? Well, then I am looking inward and I am more likely to ignore my neighbors. If I grumble I am feeling entitled, prideful, and selfish. If I grumble, I am more prone to take, and envy, and curse. When I grumble, I have forgotten God.
Looking back over my life, I cannot recall a single instance when grumbling made me feel better about anything. Grumbling has only ever made me feel worse. Only when gratitude rises up do I feel I am living life to the fullness of my potential.
On this Thanksgiving Day Eve, I am thankful… for gratitude itself. God, give me a grateful heart… in all things may I be thankful. Amen.