Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Small Mercies Miércoles: Today I'm grateful for...

Elena at the Oklahoma City Zoo
“For years, I subscribed to the notion of an “attitude of gratitude.” I’ve since learned that an attitude is an orientation or a way of thinking and that “having an attitude” doesn’t always translate to a behavior… 
So, what does a gratitude practice look like? The folks I interviewed talked about keeping gratitude journals, doing daily gratitude mediations or prayers, creating gratitude art, and even stopping during their stressful, busy days to actually say these words out loud: ‘I am grateful for…’ When the Wholehearted talk about gratitude, there are a whole bunch of verbs involved. 
~ Brené Brown, “The Gifts of Imperfection”

That last line jumps out of the page at me,

“When the Wholehearted talk about gratitude, there are a whole bunch of verbs involved.”

Although our young adult children and I don’t always agree on the facts behind their memories of growing up, I think all four would probably remember just how much their mom harped on the statement: “attitude is everything.

I once wrote it in big letters on the glass of the French doors in our dining room, a declaration of expectation for every family member’s behavior!

The truth is that when teenagers turn melancholic and moody, there are few—if any—practical things that a parent can say to make them change. But urging/encouraging/demanding an “attitude of gratitude” was tops on my list of behavior expectations for them.

I still agree.

But what I hear in Brené Brown’s statement is that embracing an understanding of gratitude and thankfulness is not only about exploring the English language, as I wrote about here.

We can all agree that gratitude is an essential ingredient to living in joy, orienting my heart toward God with thanksgiving for the blessings in our lives. But how do we GET it?

It’s the difference between a noun and a verb!

This is why I’ve committed to Small Mercies Miércoles/Wednesdays.  It’s my way of taking note of the daily doses of grace that happen in the ordinary moments of my life. 

And by the way, I picked Wednesdays because the middle of the week is a good place to stop and assess my attitude about the week—and take action for the second half!


my Twinkie Cecilia, snuggling on my shoulder at Sofia's baptism!
I am grateful for -- the unique and intimate opportunity of getting to know each of my grandchildren, face-to-face. At this time last year, my Holy Trinity of grandchildren lived in Milwaukee, and I spent a lot of my time and energy traveling to Wisconsin to visit.  But all that has changed. Not only are they living just 25 minutes north of me, there’s a new grand for me to get to know, baby Sofia Maria (4 weeks old tomorrow!).   

What about you? What are you grateful for today?