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Gratitude

Kelly McLoughlin | November 11, 2020

“Hope is a muscle that we need to exercise and be active in using…Three concrete ways to exercise our hope: connect, gratitude and remember.”

On October 21st, the Youth Ministry division offered a Virtual summit and Mike Patin was our speaker. Mike spoke to us on the topic of Hope. He shared with us that hope is a muscle that we need to exercise and be active in using. He suggested three concrete ways to exercise our hope: connect, gratitude and remember. All three of these appealed to me but, my favorite jumped right out GRATITUDE! It is common to be thinking and talking about gratitude in the month of November, the month of Thanksgiving.

I suggest we could flex our hope muscle every day of the year. I have several gratitude habits I practice and would like to suggest to you as potential ways to follow Mike’s advice and flex your hope muscle.

Having an attitude of gratitude is a key starting point in creating a habit of gratitude. William Ward (poet and author) wrote feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. Some days it is not easy to have a grateful attitude. On days when it is a struggle to think of anything to be grateful for, I have a couple of inspirational quotes that help me remember, even on those bad days, there is hope. That breath that you just took, that is a gift.

One of the best ways that I have found to adjust my attitude of gratitude has been to watch a video about gratitude that I saw on YouTube. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg creates short films and has a website called Moving Art where there are many different films. The one on gratitude is narrated by Brother David Steindl-Rast. I recommend watching it with the captions on to savor every word. Every time I see the video it reminds me of all I have to be grateful for and particularly all that there is to be grateful for that can often be overlooked or taken for granted. One example, that I have electricity and a computer at this moment to write these words.

Create a gratitude journal. I was first introduced to the concept of expressing gratitude in a journal back in the mid 1990’s on the Oprah show. She shared that for many years she had been keeping a journal and how valuable that had been for her.  A guest on the show named Sarah Van Breathnach wrote a book called Simple Abundance and in the book she suggests that each day before going to bed to write down 3 things you are grateful for that happened that day. I have been regularly doing a gratitude journal since then. This practice has changed my life in many positive ways.

Turn to scripture. You do not have to dig too deep into scripture to find reference to being grateful and thankful. Here are a few I recommend reading.

  • 1 Chronicles 16:34
  • Psalms 107:8-9
  • Psalms 28:7
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  • James 1:17
  • Colossians 3:15-17

St. Richard of Chichester is credited with writing this prayer “Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits and blessings which you have given me, for all the pains and insults which you have borne for me. Merciful Friend, Brother and Redeemer, may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day.”

A few other ways to cultivate gratitude can be:

  • Be thankful-always. There is always, always, always something to be grateful for.
  • Turn negatives into positives (silver linings)
  • Treasure moments- no matter how big or small
  • Love everyone
  • Start feeling grateful now
  • Be kind to others

I have had the joy of leading a few retreats with the theme of gratitude. I like to end the retreat with listening to this song. I think it is a beautiful prayer reflection. We can use this song to flex our hope muscle.

Thankful by Josh Groban

Somedays, we forget to look around us
Somedays, we can’t see the joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves
We take when we should give
So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be
And on this day we hope for
What we still can’t see
It’s up to us, to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There’s so much to be thankful for
Look beyond ourselves
There’s so much sorrow
It’s way too late to say, I’ll cry tomorrow
Each of us must find our truth
It’s so long overdue
So for tonight we pray for

What we know can be
And every day, we hope for
What we still can’t see
It’s up to us, to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There’s so much to be thankful for
Even with our differences
There is a place we’re all connected
Each of us can find each other’s light
So for tonight, we pray for
What we know can be
And on this day, we hope for
What we still can’t see
It’s up to us, to be the change
And even though this world needs so much more
There’s so much to be thankful for

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: David W Foster / Richard James Page / Carole Bayer Sager
Thankful lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management, Songtrust Ave