I know I'm not alone in ruminating on gratitude this season. We throw the word around with ease — but I got thinking... what does gratitude really mean? What does it actually look like?
Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia — meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. When you break it down like that the practice of gratefulness expands three-fold. Grace is given, graciousness is a state of being, and gratefulness is a state of mind or heart. Therefore, if I practice gratefulness I must give grace to others— likable or not. I must be gracious in my actions and attitude with others. I must be grateful for my life and those in my life.
It’s hard to be all of those all the time, but I have learned that if I seek to be grateful my world is more peaceful. I have more peace and joy in my heart. That leads me to be more benevolent to those in my family and community, especially those I find difficult at times. Or those I am the polar opposite of politically, religiously, or both.
In each of our worlds, we encounter a smorgasbord of beliefs, personalities, quirks, irritations, political and religious differences, etc. It's easy to find a reason to be ungrateful, to be ungracious. To harbor hate or hurt. But what if we are intentional in our mindset and actions? What if we lead with love?
A challenge for myself and you this season— send a difficult family member or friend a thank you card expressing all the things you love and/or admire about them. You never know what a little show of love can do for any relationship— difficult or strained. Love covers a multitude of sins, grievances, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings. Let’s walk the high road this holy season for all of our sakes. The world needs a lot more love now.
Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season! Blessings to All my Telos Family — I love and appreciate you so much!