OK, I suspect most of my readers for Weekend Musings are wearing stretch pants and trying to figure out how to work off that delicious Thanksgiving dinner—myself included. I think my most favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because it’s not about the commercial side of the Christmas rush. So sad to even have to say that, but we all know it is so true and it’s very hard to not get caught up in it all.
I know a lot of my readers and myself, enjoy reading devotions daily from Fr. Richard Rohr. With permission, I wanted to share this devotion because the wisdom of Lakota Doug Good Feather is just what we all need to remind ourselves to live with gratitude and give with generosity—and that we need to remember that no matter what our circumstances, gratitude is always available to us. Read his wisdom and take it in…
“Each and every morning offers us a chance to start anew, fresh, and to begin again. Each morning when we wake—should we choose to listen—is a message from the Creator to remember the privilege we were given of waking up. It’s a reminder to get up and prepare our self, to honor our self, to go out into the world, to connect with Mother Earth and the hearts of other beings, to inspire and encourage those who cross our paths, and most importantly, to enjoy life.
Gratitude and generosity are similar virtues, but they differ in that gratitude is an internal characteristic and generosity is our external expression of our sense of gratitude. Basically, gratitude is how we feel, and generosity is how we express that feeling out in the world. When we engage with the world from a place of gratitude, it’s the difference between trying to make something happen and allowing something to happen…why is gratitude such a core concept of joy, contentment, and well-being in our life? His Ancestors said: the first is that a person cannot exist in a place of fear and true gratitude at the same time. The second is that gratitude is the doorway to divine intuition, which allows us to be guided by our connection with the Creator.
Gratitude moves stagnant energy when we’re feeling stuck in life. The simple act of practicing gratitude disrupts negative thoughts and changes our mindset to see the world in a positive way. Not only are we more attractive to others when we live in gratitude, but the most ordinary things can become extraordinary, creating a fuller, more beautiful expression of our life. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Things don’t happen to us, they happen for us.” Gratitude is the foundation of that adage. It means that our mindset has to be that the universe is generally conspiring and working in our favor.”
Three paragraphs with enough wisdom to take us throughout the rest of our days! In this culture it is very easy to be negative and if we embrace negativity long enough, we lose the gift God has given us to be gracious and grateful. Honestly how on earth can we have any gratitude at all? We all know friends and family that are in this rut and even the most delicious turkey dinner just doesn’t cheer them up.
So, on this ‘after Turkey Day’, I’m not sure what you all ate or were glued to the TV for your favorite football or soccer team—what I’d like you to do is muse on your holiday. Look into the ‘nooks and crannies’ to discover the blessings that you might have not even realized. Remember the conversations and perhaps the impact they may have on your life. And yes, even perhaps the “tough ones” that you weren’t too sure you wanted to invite but you did. You may think it didn’t make a difference, but remember the Holy Spirit knows the prayers you do not say, and takes them to the throne of God. Perhaps one day that person may find themselves changed, embracing their faith in God, and living a life that is filled with gratitude and generosity.
We never know what our impact may be, but—if we don’t “go out into the world to connect” as Doug Good Feather says above—how many people will stay in their rut so long they’ll just begin to rot? And today there is a whole lot of folks rotting and wondering what comes next. Gratitude and generosity is not a part of their thinking or doing.
In closing, 2 Corinthians 4:15, using the Common English Version sums up this devotion perfectly: “All these things are for your benefit. As grace increases to benefit more and more people, it will cause gratitude to increase, which results in God’s glory.” May our lives be filled with such virtues that we may daily praise and give God the glory no matter what our circumstances may be, AMEN!