Sometimes, it’s really difficult to keep things in perspective, isn’t it? There are so many challenges facing our nation, our planet, our community. Some of us are facing huge challenges in our personal lives or in our families. Life can get us down and wear us out. It can harden our hearts and constrict our creative spirits. The proverbial glass looks more than “half-empty,” and rarely “half-full.”
November can be for us a time to recalibrate and reset our inner compass. It brings a season of thankfulness which leads us into thanks-giving. We shift from the passive, reactive mode, to one of joyful and calm engagement with the world, around, and within.
It’s interesting to see an explosion of interest in “Gratitude” journals these days. We’re not alone in our desire to direct our attention and our energies to that which is positive and life-giving, not just for ourselves, but for everyone we meet and for the creation itself. There are many formats for these journals, but the practice of gratitude is the same for each.
Simply set aside some time each day to become quiet and to focus your thoughts on the things and people for which you are grateful. Pause and take in the beauty all around. Experience a moment of awe and let your spirit soar.
Express your appreciation of someone who inspires you. Reach out in love to a friend or neighbor you might otherwise take for granted. Rejoice in the gift of life itself, and the multitude of possibilities that come with each new dawn.
Let yourself be filled with thanks. And, then generously give thanks back – to our Creator and to all in your circle of loved ones and friends. Let your heart be glad and your life illuminated by gratitude. As Dag Hammarskjöld wrote: “For all that has been – THANKS! For all that will be – YES!”
By Rev. Patricia Farris
Senior Minister, Santa Monica First United Methodist Church
Each month we ask a different member of the clergy on the Westside to contribute to this column. If you know someone we should contact, please let us know.