In my mind, gratitude has always been a feeling, not an act. If I'm being perfectly honest, it's one of those nauseating cliche-filled artificial stunts. It brings to mind diamond-studded celebrities in front of podiums, thanking all the little people who got them up to that microphone.
But a heart of thankfulness is not dependent on my feelings (thank goodness!). After all, it comes from the heart, an outpouring of what is already there.
I've read the gratitude lists here and there, and resolved to do that "some day," when the kids can entertain themselves, wipe their own noses. But it seems, procrastination can take many forms. As I plan ahead, prepare meals and laundry, this has never moved farther up my priority list, mostly because it's not screaming at me like other demands around these parts.
You see, the urgent is not the same as the important. I read this a while back and realized I was about twenty years late in distinguishing these two. It wasn't until I had children that I realized the urgent could be vastly different than the important. When my son screams for a yellow crayon, I realize that this is urgent, but not important. And when a friend calls in tears, I realize that this is not urgent, but very important.
So, I'm taking a plunge in an area that I had considered to be important, but not urgent. Now, I find that it is both, mostly due to my voracious reading of this book: Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts.
I'm taking the challenge to find gratitude - not the fake, platitude-filled kind, but the genuine heart-laid-bare kind - in everyday life, even the painful moments, because after all, "pain and joy are arteries of the same heart - and mourning and dancing are but movements in His unfinished symphony of beauty." (Voskamp, 100)
I figure the beginning - it's a very good place to start. You'll find me here on Mondays, with my slew of post-it notes and scribbled gratitudes crumpled around me on the desk. Already, it feels like coming home. If you'd like to join me, start your own list and let me know about it so I can rejoice with you.
My gifts include...
- Security in Him
- Belly laughs
- The two of them, limping and hard of hearing, who came to visit and drink my coffee today
- The smell of fresh-cut wood
- The unity of the saints
- Mrs. Donna, who dances a new dance, sings a new song, & lives in true reality, that we can only imagine
- Chewing gum chomped in my ear while I type!
- The whispered "I'm sorry" Punkin gifts my ear
- Slipper days
- Sweet chocolate bars, and the chocolate faces of indulgence around my table