There are two kinds of people in the world. One, those who wake up and say: “Good morning, Lord!” The other, those who wake up and say: “Lord, what a morning!” A mile of difference exists between the two.
The first kind are those who wake up grateful and enthusiastic. Ready to face the challenge of a new day. While the second are those who are fed up and tired of life. They are just surviving!
The New Year offers us an opportunity to count our blessings. Gratitude is like finding money in your pocket. You did not realize it was there. It is like a bank deposit; its interest and returns grow and increase without your effort.
Some would ask: why be grateful? I would re-phrase the question instead: why should we not be grateful? In truth, God has no need of our thanks. He loses nothing whether we are grateful or not. Gratitude is more beneficial to us. It does not cost us much but it has tremendous effect on us.
First, it reminds us of what is truly important. It helps us focus on the good and beautiful things that we have rather than what’s missing. We are able to celebrate the present and enjoy not just the passing of time but the glory of the moment.
Second, it reminds us of the positive thing in life. Once I met a smart 3-year old boy. He told me his favorite subject was Mathematics. So far, their lesson has been “Addition.” His teacher taught him to add: 1 mango plus 2 mangoes = 3 mangoes; 2 cellphones plus 3 cellphones = 5 cellphones.. He kept on adding so many good things he has – toys, friends, classmates. The teacher has not introduced “Subtraction” yet. He just knows the pluses and positive things in life.
Isn’t it great! We have so many blessings to count. If we can only focus on the pluses, it makes us happy and blest. It makes us realize we are so rich!
Third, gratitude turns bad things into good. It makes us more “stress resistant.” There is this book “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude can Make You Happier.” Its author Robert Emmons, the world’s leading expert on gratitude and professor of psychology at the University of California declares: “Gratitude not only makes you happy; it also makes you healty.”
Physically, it increases the body’s natural antibodies. It strengthens your immune system. Psychologically, it makes you less vulnerable to depression. You become more optimistic. It gives you a happier mental state. Socially, you become more compassionate, more forgiving and feel less lonely and isolated.
The greatest benefit of gratitude is this: Gratitude gives glory to God! We honor God in what we do. Our life become “Eucharistic,” which means “Thanksgiving.” By giving thanks with your life, it becomes a “Thanks Living.”
Meister Eckhart, the German Dominican, theologian, philosopher and mystic said: “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you’.. that would suffice.”
Writer Steve Maroboli writes: “those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message on the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.”
As we end 2013, say ‘thank you’ for the blessings of the year – big or small. Also find reasons to thank God even for the negative ones. Though you received subtractions and withdrawals, at least your account has not been totally bankrupt.
This 2014, ask God to shower you with more deposits. Gratitude facilitates God’s memory on your fervent prayers. God is never outdone in generosity!Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.