Monday, July 30, 2018

Practicing gratitude

I recently posted the following image on Facebook as it resonated with the way I feel these days about people who complain constantly--about everything--a never-ending stream of dissatisfaction, irritations, and unhappiness.

It strikes me as fairly odd that people would rather spend their days complaining instead of being grateful for what they have. And I don't just mean material wealth or possessions, although they would be something to be grateful for. I mean being grateful for the gift of another day--grateful that you woke up, because there are people who were close to me, my brother for one, who did not get that chance--who died young. Or friends who were once able to walk and can no longer because of their illness. We should be grateful for the chance to start over each day, to start anew, pursue a long-held dream, fulfill a half-finished project, or start a new one. We should be grateful for our spouses, our parents, our children, and our friends--all those who mean the world to us. But we are often too busy looking at our cell phones, or watching TV, or working too much, or arguing too much about inconsequential things. We don't appreciate the silence and peace of our minds and hearts, which remind us to slow down and take a good look at our lives. Because if we did slow down and look at our lives, we would see how blessed we are--material goods, shelter, a job, money, family, friends, and good health--all things that many of us take for granted, but that millions of people in the world don't have. So like the picture says, essentially, if you're not satisfied, do something to make yourself satisfied, and for God's sake, shut up and stop complaining about what you don't have. Money and material possessions aren't everything. Yes, it's nice to have them, and yes, we've worked hard for what we have, but there is no automatic guarantee of entitlement. I know people who have worked hard all their lives who ended up with very little to show for it. Ironically, it is not those people who complain ad nauseam. My experience is that it is those with the most who complain the most, and who are never satisfied; they always want more. The Norwegians have a good expression for it--"mye vil ha mer" (much wants more). Let's practice gratitude today. We can start by getting out of bed with gratitude in our hearts for having been given another day on this earth, and for being thankful for what we do have.

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