I was sitting in Marble Collegiate Church yesterday listening to the pastor speak about things we should not give up for Lent. Loving others was at the top of his list, followed by thankfulness. Don’t give up thankfulness, he said.
This is not a new message. Many of us keep gratitude journals. One friend writes daily thank you notes to the Universe.
I wonder, though, if this doesn’t become pro forma after a while. Oh yes, we think, I need to get an entry into my gratitude journal. I need to write my note. I need to say thank you. OK – one more thing checked off of my list for the day.
What if we practiced mindful gratitude every day? What if we reflected on all the gifts we have been given and focused on the one that has a special significance in this moment, on this day.
I close my eyes after I make my journal entry and bask in the wonder of each day’s gift. Some days, it’s easy – one thing jumps out at me – a special moment or a kindness or the first crocus. Sometimes it takes a lot of searching to find anything at all. Sometimes there seem to be so many things that it’s hard to single out just one. Reflection helps. Sitting with an idea, a vision, some new thing, brings clarity.
I used to make gratitude lists. Now I focus on that one important thing. I relish the good feelings that one thing brings. I close my journal with a smile.
Don’t give up on thankfulness. It just keeps the good things coming.