Choosing Gratitude

Have you ever reflected on your life and felt fortunate? That’s gratitude.  This is the season for reflection, for feeling fortunate and being grateful for the good that has come your way.  But wait—not everything happening for you right now is good.  Your mom passed away this year.  Your husband isn’t happy with his job.  Your father is alone, more needy and feeling depressed.  Your kids seem to always be bickering and fighting.  You catch yourself arguing more and being defensive toward others.  You look out and observe colleagues catching a break, looking great, and accomplishing more in a day than you feel you could accomplish in a lifetime.  How do you feel grateful during a season when you aren’t feeling fortunate?  

Practice the gift of memory.  In his book Get Your Life Back John Eldredge says, “this intentional use of memory is a cure for one of the soul’s most common diseases, that of what have you done for me lately’?  This intentional use of memory reminds you to let beauty into your soul and bring you back to God.”  How do you do this practically?

Name three beautiful truths that came to you in this last year, moments when you had utter clarity, and your soul was practically rescued by it.  

Okay, my three beautiful truths from 2023 are: 

  • Bailing out is far less painful than the pain of staying
  • You are not called to success, you are called to translate, and that will be your success
  • The real power is in the knowing

Some were hard and painful truths to swallow, especially the first one.  It happened while playing golf on Hilton Head when I was commandeering the golf cart back to my ball after dropping Chris off at his.  I was in a hurry since another group was just behind us.  I pressed on the gas simultaneously while turning the steering wheel too hard when heading back up the fairway.  In a twinkling, I realized I would do myself more harm if I stayed in the cart.  So, I bailed—headfirst.

The second one was even harder to hear.  Who wants to be told you are not called to success?  These three truths have brought me utter clarity and I have practiced being grateful around each one.  There are times when the horse is dead, and you just need to get off.  Realizing there will be greater consequences and pain with staying has helped trigger some necessary decisions.  My work both at home and with PSG calls for me to open lines of communication and find solutions for greater understanding.  Affirming my role as the translator has propelled me to initiate connection, intentional listening, laughter, and times of rich conversation.  At home, I need to be the one that encourages Chris to express what he desires to say, even though he holds back because it’s inconvenient, it takes too long, and others have seemingly lost interest. 

I am grateful for my late friend, Henri Paterson, who coined, “the power is in the knowing.”  It’s not what you know, it’s what you do with what you know.  You know!  This drives virtually everything that I think, say, or do.
I am grateful for my new colleague, Mary Catherine Hulst.  She helps and supports, and together she makes us a powerful combination.              
I am grateful for all of you.  Getting to know each of you and your unique situations has given me joy in my work for over 33 years.      
I am grateful for my life.  I am grateful for God loving me each and every day; for my health, for my prosperity, for Chris, for my family, for my friends.  I am grateful for the ability daily to address difficulties, obstacles, issues, and problems.  This is how we grow into gratitude—we bail, headfirst.  This is life.  How beautiful it is to be alive. 

Answers to Prayers:

We ask for strength and God gives us difficulties which make us strong.

We pray for wisdom and God sends us problems, the solution of which develops wisdom.

We plead for prosperity and God gives us a brain and brawn to work.

We plead for courage and God gives us dangers to overcome.

We ask for favors—God gives us opportunities.  

These are the answers.