The Motion of Gratitude
I welcome this weekly opportunity to arrange letters into words, words into sentences and sentences into thoughts. I try to target those thoughts towards the path walked by faith pilgrims. I could type about the weather or the latest current events, but I can think of nothing more vital than the journey of our soul Godward. If these paragraphs nudge your hearts towards courageous faith, persistent love or a deeper hope, then God has been kind to us all. Sometimes I write from what is in my head or heart. At times, the words are planted a cultural events or situations. But this week, the calendar dictates what is written.
It is Thanksgiving - a time to recognize that gratitude matters. Repeatedly, this week, I have reminded myself of this grammatical truth. Gratitude is a noun. It is something we are or have. But, Thanks-giving is a verb. It is something we give. You can’t give what you don’t have, so I pray the Spirit to shape within me a heart flooded with thanks. Since a flood fills every crevice, I should be grateful for all things in my life. I can readily list the things easy to smile at. You will probably do that around your family Thanksgiving table. But if you want to shake things up, share instead your list of complaints and gripes. You will discover the corners of living still untouched by appreciation. I recognize that gratitude is more a process of becoming than it is a state of being. Rather than waiting for the noun to be fully formed within me, it may be good to move to the verb.
How will my state of thanks become a verb of thanks-giving? What legs can I give to my sense of indebtedness? There can be cards, letters or emails to write. A conversation over caffeine could convey my heart. A practical kindness may let others know that I see their contributions to my life. Most of all, there will be prayers that waft my gratitude heavenward like incense. I wouldn’t worry too much about trying to figure out the best way to animate your thanks. When it becomes large enough within your chest, it will move. And it will bless others. Consider this.
Gratitude is the equivalent of pennies in the currency of soul. I don’t mean that gratitude isn’t very valuable; quite the opposite. It is to be abundant and common. It costs very little to give, but when added together, is of great worth before God. Gratitude should never be hoarded in secret. Like pennies stored in your sock drawer. Pull out your spirit of appreciation from the hidden places and share it all around. It will enrich our world.