Last week we focused on the gift of giving. The deepest roots of this gift can be found in gratitude. I think that is the greatest gift I was given and discovered through having cancer and being a patient at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in the early 1970s.
Brother David Steindl-Rast has wonderful reflections on the significance of gratitude. Whatever your practices may be now in relation to cultivating gratitude (a big thanks to Todd Kirk and Rev. DeAndrea Dare for sharing your insights with us last Sunday!), we always have room to grow.
Here are some resources that have been helpful for me:
An interview with Krista Tippett with “On Being”
A wonderful web community
“Gratefulness: The Heart of Prayer” by Brother David Steindl-Rast
And some wonderful quotes below . . .
Grace and peace as you journey along the road of gratefulness,
“Look closely and you will find that people are happy because they are grateful. The opposite of gratefulness is just taking everything for granted. ”
“We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart.”
“Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefullness, and gratefullness is a measure of our aliveness.”
“Any place is sacred ground, for it can become a place of encounter with the divine Presence.”
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”
“Sometimes people get the mistaken notion that spirituality is a separate department of life, the penthouse of existence. But rightly understood, it is a vital awareness that pervades all realms of our being . . . Wherever we may come alive, that is the area in which we are spiritual.”
“People who have faith in life are like swimmers who entrust themselves to a rushing river. They neither abandon themselves to its current nor try to resist it. Rather, they adjust their every movement to the watercourse, use it with purpose and skill, and enjoy the adventure.”
“In moments of surprise we catch at least a glimpse of the joy to which gratefulness opens the door.”
“Try pausing right before and right after undertaking a new action, even something simple like putting a key in a lock to open a door. Such pauses take a brief moment, yet they have the effect of decompressing time and centering you.”
“There is a wave of gratefulness because people are becoming aware how important this is and how this can change our world. It can change our world in immensely important ways, because if you’re grateful, you’re not fearful, and if you’re not fearful, you’re not violent. If you’re grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people, and you are respectful to everybody, and that changes this power pyramid under which we live.”
“A lifetime may not be long enough to attune ourselves fully to the harmony of the universe. But just to become aware that we can resonate with it — that alone can be like waking up from a dream.”
“As we learn to give thanks for all of life and death, for all of this given world of ours, we find a deep joy. It is the joy of trust, the joy of faith in the faithfulness at the heart of all things. It is the joy of gratefulness in touch with the fullness of life.”
“One single gift acknowledged in gratefulness has the power to dissolve the ties of our alienation.”
“The root of joy is gratefulness . . . It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.”