What would it mean to live the life of gratitude? What would it be like to walk out of our homes each day grateful for every gift in our lives?
Waking up, we would give thanks for our houses, the shelter above our heads each night; warmth to keep us through cold November evenings. We might be thankful for the love in our homes, or our favorite things – our music, our books, the art that gives us pleasure. We might be grateful for the people in our lives, both near and far away, and the reminders we keep with us of their presence. We might be grateful for the animals who give to us companionship and joy. We might give thanks for food, for clean water, and for hot coffee.
Stepping out into the world, we would open ourselves to a bounty of blessings – the stunning array of nature’s glory in turning leaves, the brisk air that awakens us, the smell of Autumn. We would be grateful for neighbors, who have shown us kindness, for their children who sing with the spirit of life, for the many ways we have to get places and do things.
We would be grateful for work to do when we are employed, for support and assistance when we are not, for good health and good medicine, for the care of a loving community. We would give thanks for our feelings – laughter that keeps spirits vibrant, tears that remind us what is most important in our hearts. We would give thanks for the play of ideas in minds that are nature’s most profound miracle.
It is hard to live this way all the time. Disappointments draw us away from the blessings, hard suffering gives no reason for gratitude, and the news of the day is often hard to hear. But it is not difficult to live this way some of the time, and it is worth making the effort. When we do, we awake not only to the extraordinary, but to the simple, ordinary blessings we take for granted. Many of these blessings are people, who deserve to be thanked. Others are qualities of life itself. When we choose to look at the world through grateful eyes, what we see may astonish and inspire us.
What would it mean to live the life of gratitude?