I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Gratitude is Spirituality 101. You want to grow spiritually, to expand your capacity for love and compassion, start paying attention to things you can appreciate. Attention -> appreciation -> gratitude -> love.
And I love it when the Lectionary backs up my pre-conceived notions ;) I mean just check out Luke 17.
See, you can’t be grateful unless you’re paying attention. And you can’t love something without first appreciating it. And you can’t love the world without first paying attention to it. And you can’t stay hopeful or optimistic while you’re paying attention to reality (‘cause I mean look at the chaos and systemic injustice we’re dealing with) without also looking for good things to practice gratitude for.
Gratitude is our best hope for not succumbing to cynicism and melancholy. It doesn’t always come naturally. This is why we call it a PRACTICE. We practice it so our synaptic pathways can remember it when we need it most. And when we practice gratitude, we lay the groundwork for love.
Oh God, you have kept us among the living,
Though we’ve lost many;
Though we’ve gone through fire and water,
You’ve brought us to a spacious place -