Practicing an Attitude of Gratitude

During these days of political rancor and disillusionment, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction and goals versus real action plans that can be put into practice. As they say, it’s difficult to know what politicos mean rather than just what they say. However, one way or another, we will withstand the onslaught of television and radio ads, the multitude of tweets and the countless stories in newspapers. It seems like a long way to November when we’ve had two weeks of conventions heralding the beginning of a new Democratic or Republican era.

After Nov. 8, most of us will still be here, with our families and communities, working at our jobs, ministering to each other no matter who claims the White House. I’m not dismissing nor disdaining the importance of choosing the next president, but I am saying we will continue to have lives that can be filled with grace and gratitude rather than the rancor and resentment some folks feel about not only our political situation but also their lives in general.

If we want to change our personal world, we need to find the perks, own them and celebrate them. We have so much to be grateful for, but in these days of violence and fear of each other for many reasons, we lose sight of those people and situations that give us hope, that fuel our faith, that should make us pause to be grateful.

If we live every day as a prayer, turning our lives over to God and asking for guidance and strength, we may be surprised at the change that is wrought in each one of us. It’s not easy to try to release control of what’s happening in our lives. We believe we are in charge of our lives, our families, our drive to the top or to the next level of life. If we take the long view and look at where our roads have unfolded, we might see a different picture.

Stop where you are and look around. Did you or could you have imagined the life you are living right now? Did you believe you would be “here,” wherever here is. Bumps in the road, or sometimes giant potholes, sometimes throw us in other directions that we would not have imagined for ourselves.

Wherever our roads lead, we must be convinced that God will give us direction if we but ask in prayer. Maybe we don’t get what we want, but our prayers can direct us down the path we need to go. Being open, being quiet or being sensitive to ourselves and the people in our world can make us more aware of which way to go.

The first thing we need to do is realize how much we already have — people who care for us, our families and friends, our coworkers, those to whom we minister — and adopt an “attitude of gratitude.” We’re always asking, asking God to help us. Maybe just saying thank you once in awhile would be a good idea.