The Attitude of Gratitude

Yesterday I read the most wonderful thing about gratitude. It was on the heels of spending time this weekend with my dearest friends giving thanks and enjoying a fabulous meal together. It was on my way to being with my family to celebrate this holiday called Thanksgiving.  Nearly all of my favorite people in this whole wide world gathered together with me at some point in the week!  How could one not be grateful?  Add to it all a beautiful sunrise walk with my sisters on the beach — glorious blues I never have seen on one pallet before!   What a great day!!!  
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So here is part of what I read from Convictions:  How I Learned what Matters Most, by Marcus J. Borg, 2014:

“Gratitude is both a feeling and an awareness. . . . As an awareness, gratitude is the realization that our lives are a gift. None of us is self-made. We did not create ourselves. We and all that we have are a gift, even if we may also have worked hard for what we have. But even our ability to work hard is also a gift. For those who have prospered in this life, gratitude is the awareness that we did not do it by ourselves. How much of who we have become is the product of our genetic inheritance of intelligence and health? Of the family into which we were born and their values? Of teachers or others we met along the way? Of decisions made by others over which we had little or no control? Gratitude as an awareness is a posture toward life. It is the opposite of feeling entitled.

“Gratitude cannot be commanded. You feel it or you don’t. The words ‘you should be grateful’ have seldom if ever made anybody feel grateful. Gratitude is the fruit, the product, of being aware that our lives are not our own creation. It is thanksgiving.

“Though we do not commonly think of gratitude as an ethical virtue, it has ethical effects. When we are filled with gratitude, it is impossible to be cruel or brutal or judgmental. Moreover, as an awareness, it leads to a very different attitude toward those whose lives are hard. The familiar saying, ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ is true—but it should not be understood to mean that God decided to grace me but not those with difficult lives. Rather, gratitude as an awareness evokes compassion and a passion for helping the ones who have to live those lives.

“Imagine that Christianity is about loving God. Imagine that it’s not about the self and its concerns, about ‘what’s in it for me,’ whether that be a blessed afterlife or prosperity in this life. Imagine that loving God is about being attentive to the One in whom we live and move and have our being. Imagine that it is about becoming more and more deeply centered in God. Imagine that it is about loving what God loves. Imagine how that would change our lives. Imagine how it would change American Christianity and its relation to American politics and economics and our relationship to the rest of the world. Imagine how it would change our vision of what this world, the humanely created world, might, could, and should be like.” (Excerpt From: Marcus J. Borg. “Convictions.” HarperCollinsPublishers. 2014.
iBooks.)

As we come to the close of this Thanksgiving, may we each be growing in our awareness of gratitude. May we be acutely attuned to the amazing gift of our lives and who we are to be in this world thanks to such a great gift!

Thanks be to God!!!
-RevJule

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