I have experienced waves of gratitude during the past few weeks – much of it as the result of the prayers, thoughts, cards, love, and support offered to me and my family as we mourn the loss of one of my nephews.
I cannot find adequate words to thank my friends and family (including my Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates community) for their acts of kindness and presence during a very difficult time in my life.
I have been reminded that gratitude is more than an emotional response. It is an affirmation of goodness – we affirm that there are good things in the world that are freely given to us. Gratitude helps us recognize the sources of goodness that are outside of ourselves – we acknowledge positive things that come our way that we did not actively work toward or ask for.
It reminds us to never take our gifts and blessings for granted.
Gratitude is an attitude. It is about more than saying “thank you.”
Gratitude completely transforms our vision because it is about being able to notice and appreciate the gifts that are given to us – from the smallest things of beauty to the grandest of our blessings (including the gift of life itself).
While having an attitude of gratitude does not mean we will never experience negative emotions, I believe that shifting our focus to consciously notice the positive can help us avoid being overwhelmed by day-to-day stressors and negative emotions.
Even during the most challenging times, gratitude makes us available to opportunities to learn and grow and to extend ourselves with care and compassion to others. Showing deep appreciation for acts of kindness can uplift us and make a difference for us and others.
What if gratitude became a perpetual, daily experience — for not just the big things but for the smallest gifts we receive?