being still in God's big world

A lifetime of gratitude

“If the world is night, shine my life like a light.” -Emily Saliers
For those on social media, we are seeing a lot about a month of gratitude. Folks are taking the opportunity each day to openly express what they are grateful for. I have loved reading my friends little moments of gratitude – many of which are the beautiful little, everyday things we often take for granted. But this also has me thinking: Why is it counter cultural to express our gratitude?
When we choose whom to surround ourselves with we are more likely to choose happy, positive people. It’s just human nature to surround ourselves with people who make us feel good. As someone who sometimes struggles with how I am perceived by new folks, I am especially cognizant of this tendency. I recognize it in myself, too – I want to be around people who help me see the blessings in life. So I wonder – if we are more prone to choose happiness in our relationships, why do we find it difficult to share the magical moments of joy as freely as we share annoyances?
It seems to me that it has become societally intolerable to express these gratitudes because we don’t want to be perceived as braggarts.  We want to be seen as humble and to do that we downplay our sparkle and in doing so we grow scales over our eyes that eventually obstruct our ability to see the wonder and blessing that is always around us. When we intentionally strive to fit in through mediocrity, we become more attune to the negativity around us. When we feel embarrassed about proclaiming awe and gratitude for fear of how others will interpret it, we eventually stop noticing those things all together.
This month of gratitude is a lovely invitation to remind ourselves of how blessed we are. It is permission to boldly recognize and name the gifts we receive on a daily basis – and in doing so, maybe we can walk into the next month with our vision restored and our hearts unburdened. What if we all tried, not just for a month, but in our lives to name a gratitude each and every day? How would that not only change others’ perception of us, but our own perception of ourselves?  And, once that perception is changed, will we become more likely to try and share the beauty of the world with others?
Openly expressing gratitude is a simple, first step toward boldly adding sparkle to the world. (And you all know how I feel about sparkle.) So keep it coming. Whether through social media, personal interactions, or quietly in prayer – recognizing and expressing our gratitude can help us to see the light and seeing that light will help us to reflect that light into the shadowy places of the world.
Sparkle on, my friends.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Funny I am reading a book about Monks. A Lay person is visiting. He is amazed at how the Monks can just easily say “yes, I have the the most beautiful voice in this place”. Or another, “Yes I can cook better than anyone.” They don’t say it to brag, They are just stating what is true. perhaps you have to be hold up in a community away from the world to be able to do these things. I just am not sure.

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