I'm sure about a zillion preachers have used that phrase at one point or another. "You must cultivate an attitude of gratitude, my friends." It's a catchy little rhyme, isn't it? I heard it close to 14 years ago, I think, and I have never forgotten it. And now likely neither will you. :)
Gratitude is a wonderful thing, tho... when you are busy being thankful for the blessings you do have, the things that you don't have are no longer the center of your attention, which means that you are no longer the center of your own attention either. Gratitude gets us out of ourselves, and directs our attention to the Giver of all good things.
It's Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. and across the nation, people are stopping to think about the things for which they are thankful. At our Torch feast last weekend, we were challenged to come up with something memorable, something non-cliche.... none of this "I'm thankful for my friends and family stuff." Of course we are. But what else?
Well, I'm thankful for the "as is" section at IKEA. I found a great cabinet door for $3.00 last week that is now our welcome sign for Sacred Space. And I have an art project on my wall that is, at its base, two small tabletops (I think) from there - I believe they were $.30-$.50 apiece last year. And I have a great bookshelf that was supposed to be a tableleg... So there's my "memorable" bit of gratitude trivia. I know it seems like a silly thing to be thankful for. But the artist in me loves having a place to go for inspiration. :)
There are so many things I really am thankful for, on a much deeper and more meaningful level, tho. For my church community. For my pastor and his wife, who believe in God's call on my life even more strongly than I do, and who encourage me to live into it in every way they can. For the fierce women of God who have become my closest friends and confidantes. For blogging friends who have spoken so much encouragement and truth into my life over the past two years. For one friendship in particular that has taught me more about the unconditional nature of love than any other. And for an amazing, kind, compassionate, awesome, incredible, inspiring, sweet and loving God whose grace and mercy know no bounds.
I love You, God, and I am so grateful for You. Thank You for saving me, and for loving me so much.