On Gratitude

Confession time: I never finished writing my wedding gift thank-you notes.

I know! I know…..I have not one but two southern grandmothers who are no doubt rolling over in their graves right now. I know better. My mama raised me better. I had stationary with our names on it, the spreadsheet of persons correlated with presents, time to do it.

Somehow, someway, I just stopped. And never got back around to it. That was seven and a half years ago.

More confession: When I moved from Atlanta to Arlington, a year and a half ago, I found in boxes thank you notes I had written and addressed but never sent when I left Chicago eight years ago.

I know! I know...I’m terrible.

Let’s talk about gratitude. It’s November, after all, the season of giving thanks. And I could happily talk to you all day long about the virtues of gratitude; the benefits to our own hearts and minds; the joy we spread to others when we practice giving thanks.

I know that when I shift my posture towards one of gratitude I am more content. Connected. Grounded. Centered in love and joy, no matter what is happening.

I know, you know, Oprah knows: gratitude matters.

So why is it so hard to practice?

I went to a workshop recently on Improv, Bravery, and Creativity. The facilitator Lindsey Medford told us we get brave not by thinking or talking about bravery but by practicing bravery. Taking risks. Doing the thing. Stepping onto a stage willing to say: yes, and...

This wisdom is seemingly simple but I’ve found it revolutionary in applying it to so many areas of my life. Reading an Oprah article about why gratitude matters is fine, but it’s not going to help us be grateful. We’ve got to do it. Practice gratitude. Early and often. Write the note. Address the note. And for God’s sake, mail the darn note.

So I’m doing the thing this month: I’ve printed off Psalm 100 and placed it on my bathroom mirror. Everyday I look and read and practice gratitude. I can’t guarantee it will make me a more gracious thank-you-note writer (sorry, mom!) but it does and is and will orient me towards a posture of gratitude, day-in and day-out, thanks be to God. Try it with me?

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.

  Worship the Lord with gladness;

  come into God’s presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.

  It is God that made us, and we are God’s;

  we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture.

Enter God’s  gates with thanksgiving,

  and God’s courts with praise.

  Give thanks to God, bless God’s name.

For the Lord is good;

  God’s steadfast love endures forever,

  and God’s faithfulness to all generations.

-Rev. Kate Floyd

Kate FloydComment