“The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” ― Brother David Steindl-Rast
I enter this season of gratitude—starting with the Thanksgiving holiday followed by our various spiritual celebrations of hope—with much for which to be grateful. I recognize a cornucopia of blessings, even those that only reveal themselves as a blessing in retrospect. Gratitude is a powerful antidote to the contagious urge of wanting more, different, better. When I name all that I am grateful for, I see the amazing plentitude I already have.
What follows is a cascade of things for which I am grateful. I encourage you to do the same. Once the well is primed, it is difficult to find the off switch!
I am grateful for the sunrise each morning, especially on days when the clouds break and colors stream through in crimson, coral, rose.
I am grateful for celestial nights with stars that constellate into images our long-ago ancestors amplified with myths we continue to retell.
I am grateful for farmers who bring their beautiful bounty to the market each weekend that I might enjoy fresh foods to delight my senses.
I am grateful for the healthcare workers who labor tirelessly for us that we may return to our families healed and nurtured by their skill and kindness.
I am grateful for neighbors who share their lives and stories and stop to chat as we all go about our days, especially during this past year’s disruptions.
I am grateful for our Native sisters and brothers who honor the gifts of creation and introduced me to the practice of thanking a living plant before I enjoy her gifts.
I am grateful for our many immigrants and migrants who enrich my life with their foods, courage, sacrifices, and willingness to hold essential jobs that support our communities.
I am grateful for my parents who cared for me into my adulthood and blessed me with the opportunity to care for them as they transitioned into their next life.
I am grateful for the generations that follow mine for being willing to pick up the pieces, problems, and possibilities that my generation failed to do.
I am grateful for the gift of sobriety for many of my family and friends. Their honesty, vulnerability and ongoing commitment is a blessing to me and my community.
I am grateful for young parents who sacrifice their time and energy to grow the next generation of adults who will carry our dreams and hopes forward.
I am grateful for spiritual seekers who challenge traditions that have become stale, continuing to recognize a spirit still alive and not trapped in museum cathedrals.
I am grateful for people called to public service who wrestle with difficult issues that have no easy solution, that choose to not abandon the problem but rather to seek creative solutions.
I am grateful for teachers who teach the mastery of subject matter as well as the value of hard work and persistence, preparing our children for a world that needs their creativity, imagination, and innovation.
I am grateful for artists who help me see the world in new ways, be they visual artists, poets, or technicians.
I am grateful for hope-filled visionaries who fight to save the planet.
I am grateful for elders who set a vision of shared sacrifice and shared opportunities.
I am grateful for frontline workers who deal with us when we are not at our best, when we are afraid, when we let our emotions spew out through no fault of theirs.
I am grateful for scientists who laid the groundwork for vaccines that would give us a way through this most recent pandemic and who continue to imagine what we might need for viruses still unknown.
I am grateful for friends who have brightened the dark days of the last year with their humor, kindness, and willingness to listen to my fears and foibles.
I am grateful for a family who continues to gather with me and us in the messiness of finding our way through challenging times, even when we don’t agree, see the world through different paradigms, and continue to love each other.
I am grateful for my Mexican American neighbors who introduced me to the Day of the Dead celebrations, reminding me that our loved ones continue to live with us in stories, memories, and gatherings.
I am grateful for the people who deliver the world to my door as they bring milk, mail, and a myriad of products I want but probably don’t need.
I am grateful for hospice workers who allow me to be present to the needs of my dying loved ones.
I am grateful for my failures that have taught me much more than my successes. May I continue to appreciate their ongoing lessons.
I am grateful for those who listen to my ramblings as I search for hope and meaning. You are the string in my labyrinth by which I can find my way.
I am grateful for the gift of losses that remind me that what I have is sufficient and often a great plenty.
I am grateful for composers, singers, and musicians who create lilting melodies, rhapsodic motifs, and poetic ballads that carry me to serene places and soothe my weary spirit.
I am grateful for nature’s cycles of life and death, ever reminding me that this, too, shall pass and death makes room for new life.
I am grateful for you, the readers, who are all part of this journey. I hope you find yourselves in this litany and know that I am grateful for your service, your engagement, your presence wherever and whenever our paths cross.
As we enter this season of gratitude may your lives be filled with joy and wonder.
Amen. Shalom. Namaste. Peace. Thank you.
Mary Lou Logsdon provides Spiritual Direction in the Twin Cities. She is an instructor in The Sacred Ground Spiritual Direction Formation Program. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated on October 29, 2021