I spend part of each day of my life writing. Be it article, report or my current project, a book, hours are spent constructing (and de-constructing) sentences, counting words to meet editorial guidelines, or conducting interviews to provide needed information. Sadly I don’t read for recreation as often as I’d like.
This month has been an exception. I’ve just finished my second read of Ann Voskamps’ "One Thousand Gifts" and I’m currently engrossed in a history of the "Women’s Institutes in Canada: the First One Hundred Years." Although totally different in focus and purpose, I’ve gleaned the same lesson from both: there is tremendous power in living a life filled with gratitude. Here’s an example from the history book.
One summer day in the 1920s a group of ladies drove out to visit Jennie Watt, the third National President of Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada (FWIC). According to the author, Linda Ambrose, the women were enjoying their time together when one of those fierce hail storms crashed into the area. Entire fields of grain were flattened; the investment of a season’s labour was destroyed in a few minutes. The women were deeply moved by the plight suffered by their friend and rising to leave, they offered sympathy.
Jennie’s response: “Don’t go yet. The children have gathered hailstones and we’ve made some ice cream.”
Learning to give thanks in everything isn’t for cowards; in fact, there are times when it seems downright foolish. Give thanks for hard things? Give thanks when it feels as if the bottom has fallen out of everything? Make ice cream out of hailstones? I’m learning to do it and I assure you, it’s liberating.
“Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.” I Thessalonians 5:18 (CEV)
Praise is simply letting off esteem and gaining new joy.