Thanksgiving has passed and I’m currently sitting in Augustine Hall after a difficult day trying to be thankful, praying for the opportunity to be thankful. Then it hits me:
Today, I’m aware of the fact that life is better than I deserve, which is saying something these days. The world is full of pain and suffering, hardship and turmoil, disappointment and regret. So the fact that I can be thankful and mean it is, in its own way, a small miracle.
When I was younger, I didn’t understand gratitude. In a universe that seemed to hurt for no reason, giving thanks felt disingenuous. Living in a world where children die of hunger every day, it just didn’t make sense. But now I understand. Being grateful is a choice.
So today, I chose to make a list.
The gratitude list
Gratitude is not my natural disposition, so this took some time and effort. It was a discipline to remind myself of the many reasons I have to be grateful. But it was an exercise well worth the discomfort.
Here’s my challenge to you: Take some time today, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, to come up with a gratitude list. If it doesn’t come naturally, don’t let that stop you from still giving thanks. There is still much to be thankful for, if we only have eyes to see.
And in case you were wondering, here are my 10 reasons to give thanks today.
- I am thankful for my health, for being able to run errands and walk around my neighborhood and eat buffalo chicken dip my dad made me.
- I am thankful for my family and friends, who love me despite my faults and bad days and encourage me to keep trying
- I am thankful for the gift and work of writing— that it is both extremely hard and easy at the same time. Easy to do, hard to master. Always frustrating. Always rewarding.
- I am extremely thankful for the online community of writers and readers who are making a difference in the world. You guys inspire me.
- I am thankful for living in a town full of creative minds and opportunities.
- I am thankful for work that matters, like volunteering for the youth groups at Saint Monica’s.
- I am thankful for music — bands like United Pursuit and Bethel. Their words and music inspire me to create my own art.
8. I am thankful for Movies and TV shows — like Hunger Games and Gilmore Girls for being able to turn part of my brain off and still be inspired.
9. I am thankful for books— eBooks, audiobooks, children’s books, novels, and memoirs. My shelves are full of them, and they are my one true lust.
10. Lastly, and most importantly, I am thankful for Grace — for love that cannot be explained (only surrendered to), for a Creator that inspires creativity, for purpose and a hope that there is more to the story than we see.
What’s on your gratitude list? Share in the comments.