The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
This morning, I arose with a burdened mind and saddened heart. It was tough getting up to face the day. It is why I posted on social media that on days like today, I am thankful to be participating in a challenge to be mindful of my efforts to have a greater focus on growing in gratitude and grace. On the toughest days, the ones that feel like I am trudging along desperately wading through muddy emotional waters with a mucky attitude at best, it’s close to impossible to cultivate gratitude from within.
My faith and life experience have saved me time and again in moments such as these—the unfortunate days, the emotional hours, the moments in which I wished I did not have to face anyone or anything. On these exceptionally trying days, like today, I find for gratitude’s sake, it’s best to have a mental time-out. By closing my eyes and calmly focusing on the blessings swirling around me, by taking a few moments to just stop, be still, and let go, I find there is always good to be noticed—so much goodness all around me.
An intentional, handwritten note of blessings for which I want to give thanks is good practice, too. Here is today’s list:
- snuggle time with the kids before getting the morning started
- a refrigerator full of fresh, wholesome food
- good friends and neighbors
- tea time while the kids happily play together in the toy room
- a working van with a half-full tank of gas
- that the kids attend safe, attentive, proactive schools filled with caring, intelligent teachers
- a delicious lunch of a Greek salad and Hearth-Roasted Veggie Sandwich (both made without the cheese, because I’m weird like that!)
Practicing intentional gratitude comes easily to me with daily practice. It is only in combination with prayer and grace, the advice of a skilled therapist, and the love of my husband and family that I can climb out of the deep to acknowledge there is always something to be thankful for—anything–if even just to notice the clearness of the blue sky above, the sweetness found in an unprompted smile of a child, or the incomprehensible fact that I am given this messy, real life to live. Realizing all that I have in this life, in spite of the hardships I face, is more than enough reason for me to express gratitude and continue about my imperfectly blessed life living it out loud in the name of love and thanksgiving.