“As we travel with gratitude, and share that feeling – like a ripple it spreads across the world.” ~ Larry Dvoskin
God, I give you thanks,
for the bright beauty of creation
for the joy of children
for the unfurling of creation
for the space to breathe and to simply be
for compassion and care
for the gift of community
and for the grace, and love that is ever present!
On the May Long Weekend, I attended the May Youth Retreat with our Senior Youth Group at Camp Fircom on Gambier Island. What an incredible blessing to be with energizing, creative, thoughtful and caring youth and their leaders. Exhausting? Yes! But a blessing more so!
Along with bug spray, ear plugs, and pink flannel sheets, I packed Diana Butler Bass’ new book Grateful: the Transformative Power of Giving Thanks. She began writing the book in 2016 during, as you may know, a very tumultuous time in American politics, and in the world! She, like many of us, expected a very different outcome in the election and ended up with editor deadlines in the midst of the first 100 days of the new presidency. And during a time of deep lament for what was, she began her research and writing on the transformative power of gratitude, practicing 100 days of giving thanks.
“. . . I discovered something quite unexpected: gratitude, like interest, compounds. This simple form of giving thanks made me pay attention and start looking for particular reasons to be grateful. There would always be grounds for ingratitude. Always. Seeking out the small things for which I could give thank, however, changed my field of spiritual and emotional vision.”
Gratitude journals, Ignatian Spirituality’s the Examen, prayer, giving thanks before meals, expressing gratitude to family and friends, being mindful of the blessings in life are all practices of gratitude. Steve Garnaas-Holmes, a United Methodist pastor, writes a daily reflection found at www.unfoldinglight.net that is part of my daily prayer practice, he wrote:
“Gratitude is not an emotion that comes upon us without our control. It is not dependent on what happens to us, but on our intention. Like good posture, it is a practice, an attitude that is entirely our choice in every moment. Gratitude is the ground of all wisdom, the root of all joy. When we practice gratitude it opens our hearts to the deep gifts in all of life, and God’s grace, the Holy One’s presence with us . . .”
I also appreciated Diana Butler Bass’ thoughtful reflection that there are reasons every single day to not be grateful. The crises in our world, in our communities and in our lives can be so overwhelming that the ability to be thankful eludes at times. She encouragingly directed us to the scripture that many of us have used on thank you notes or in litanies in worship, “in everything give thanks.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In directing us to these words she reminds us that the preposition used is not for everything give thanks but in everything give thanks. When we ground our lives in gratitude, when we live in gratitude we situate our lives and our living in a place where gratitude “is an act of resistance, of resilience, of renewal.”
Giving thanks for the gift of this community of faith,