Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Practice of Gratitude

Here we are in Lent again, and I’ve been struggling with how to observe it this year. Though it has been meaningful for me to fast in the past, I have no real desire to give something up right now. Perhaps that’s just selfish, but the things I eat and drink and fill my day with are generally not sinful things--they are gifts from God. I have my faults, of course, but I don’t think enjoying ice cream is one of them.

So this year, instead of giving something up, I have decided to try to live with more reflection on and gratitude for the beauties and joys of everyday life, the many gifts from God that sometimes go unnoticed. I will do my best to be mindful of these gifts as I enjoy them, and every night I will pray the
Litany of Thanksgiving and add my own list of things for which I’m grateful--things like tea, ripe strawberries, afternoon walks, music, everyday conversations with my wife, the beauty of car headlights reflected on wet asphalt, the feeling of going downhill on a bicycle.

  

4 comments:

RC said...

John, thank you for this a lovely reflection on mindfulness and gratitude. One of the things it does is remind me of how grateful I am to have spiritual friends who support and help me with this kind of spirituality. I deeply appreciate this kind of interaction. Please give Erica my greetings, too.
--Rickey

David Norling said...

I can see how intentional gratitude could be a surrender of easy, automatic ways of seeing. It's a humble opening to the mercies that are new every moment. It's still a kenosis without the negative implications.

God bless you with a joy filled season.

Anna Cotton said...

John,
“…instead of giving something up, I have decided to try to live with more reflection on and gratitude for the beauties and joys of everyday life…” What a wonderful Lenten practice! I’m blessed and encouraged knowing you are doing this. And I loved your personal list, especially the ripe strawberries, afternoon walks and conversations with Erica. Thanks so much for sharing this.--Blessings, Anna

Daniel said...

Thanks for sharing your practices with us, John. I've found myself already in moments of gratitude while relating to some of the simple things you're experiencing with new meaning, like "the feeling of going downhill on a bicycle."

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