Thursday, April 28, 2016

What Gratitude Does

This past week I flew back to California where I grew up to spend a week with my mother. About a year ago, I lost my father, and my mother is struggling with his loss. It’s understandable since they were married for 68 years. That doesn’t happen too much anymore, people staying together that long. I took my mother to the cemetery, and we visited his grave. It wasn’t easy, but he gave us so much of himself that we have wonderful memories. Life is so short, and soon it will be over for all of us. My hope is not here—not on this planet; it is in Jesus, so I know that I too one day will be with the Lord. I am grateful that I got to spend a week with my mother and I got to see my daughter and her family and my sister.

I have been teaching on gratitude for the past couple of months, and it has awakened a new desire to be more grateful. I realize that it is happening—that I am becoming more grateful. Not that more good things are happening, but that I am more aware of the things that happen to me.

Gratitude protects us from becoming arrogant and full of pride, which I am prone to do. Gratitude helps us develop into who we are really meant to be. Without gratitude I am convinced the whole process gets sabotaged by our selfish perspective of life. Gratitude opens the curtains and lets the sunshine into our souls.

None of us have the promise of tomorrow, so that in itself should be enough to help us realize how much we should appreciate each new day. We have no guarantee that our loved ones will always be there beside us, so how important is it to love them while we have them. I want to use words and embraces that convey not only my feelings but leave a lasting impression of love.

Gratitude helps me let go of stuff. Without gratitude I get the idea that something really matters so much more than it really does. With a grateful heart I can hold things loosely and hold on to Jesus tightly. In short, gratitude helps me enjoy life, and after all, is there anything more important than that. I want to love Jesus and enjoy my family and friends. After that, everything is so much less important.

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