Gratitude

Gratitude is the key to a life of contentment and joy and yet it still eludes me.

I can wake up and whisper gratitude to my heart. I can stir my morning cup to its tune. I can give thanks for my health, my family, my home and then I watch it slip through my fingers as life gets in the way.

Running late for school, flat tires, crabby kids, burnt supper, piles of laundry, dirty dishes, arguments with my husband. Pretty soon, my song of thanks, is a repeat in my head of all the wrongs, all that is unfair.

Even though I know that if I remain thankful, I can change my own attitude, it is sometimes so much easier to slip into resentment.

Gratitude takes practice, discipline.

Resentment is easy.

How easy it is for me to feel unappreciated when I am folding my seventh pile of laundry, how simple it is to resent the dirty floors I just swept five minutes ago, how enticing to grumble about cleaning up the toys for the hundredth time.

But how hard it is for me to be thankful for the clothes that cover us, how hard it is for me to pull out my broom in my climate controlled home and clean up the food that I am blessed enough to get to serve my family, how difficult it is to pick up the generous gifts my kids have received from family and friends.

I am ungrateful.

In a world of hurt, disease and neglect, a world of natural disasters and cruelty, these daily nuisances pale in comparison.

When I step outside of myself long enough to see my life for what it is, ridiculously abundant, that is when I begin to practice gratitude.

And it takes practice. 

Gratitude for pain because it means I can feel. Gratitude for exhaustion because it means my life is full. Gratitude for the hard as well as the easy. Gratitude regardless of circumstance.

I will give thanks for a full life and find ways to share it with others.

I wash another sink full of dishes, because I was able to feed my family another meal. I fold another pair of pants because I have been blessed with four kids who dirty a lot of clothes. I call a friend who is hurting, because I know my time will come for pain as well. I accept what seem like inconveniences and I recognize them for what they are, an opportunity to serve others.

It all is so simple, yet so infuriatingly hard.

It should be easy to be grateful to get to hug my babies, to cook, to clean, to work to pay the bills and live out life in a safe home. Why do I grumble, why do I turn my nose up at it? Why do I so quickly forget?

I can write this now and by tonight I will find myself struggling to remember my own words. Old habits run deep and selfish tendencies are hard to break. I will mess it up, I will start over, I will continue to try endlessly.

I don't want to wait till November to remember to give thanks. I want to march to that beat every second of every day. And when I forget, (which I will) I will be grateful for second chances.

With Love,
Me



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