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August 28, 2018: An Attitude of Gratitude

by Nancy Aherne

 

As I started reading Diana Butler Bass's book Grateful, I was reminded of the expression “An Attitude of Gratitude.”  I cannot claim ownership of this slogan, for it is used by people who are in 12-step recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, and Debtors Anonymous. It helps those emerging from addictions and related problems focus on what’s good in life as they seek to move forward. I must confess that when I entered adulthood, I did not have an attitude of gratitude, because my childhood took place in a household that was chaotic, dysfunctional, and unloving. I have experienced other very low points during my life, such as the death of my daughter from cancer when she was 50. I also survived a serious automobile accident a few years ago.

Ms. Bass does not include my particular experiences in her book, but I could relate to many of the things she talks about.  I want to draw attention especially to the section in her book entitled “Gratitude as a Way of Life” (pp. 85-90). She writes about how choosing to be grateful—or what other people might call having an attitude of gratitude—helps you notice the good things in life, even when they seem very few. As you develop this habit, she says, you start finding even more things to be thankful for. I know this has been true for me. I have learned to appreciate the many joys of life, such as my loving and wonderful marriage to my spouse, Marko, who has helped me in so many ways, including in assembling these thoughts on gratitude. I have enjoyed watching nine grandchildren grow into young adulthood, each successful in their own endeavors, and I feel very grateful.

I am also grateful for the love and support of my All Souls family and other spiritual fellowships. One of the most rewarding experiences this parish has given me is allowing me to offer prayer and annointing to individuals at each Wednesday noon service and on the first Sunday of every month. I give thanks that in this way, I am able to pass on some of the love and care that I have received here to other parishioners who are in need.

I’m reminded of two quotes. One from Helen Keller: "Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and  I learn whatever state I may be in, therein to be content."  And from the 12-step daily reader,  Courage to Change: "I am grateful for every thing--even things that surprise me." As far as I am concerned,  life is good, because I have an attitude of gratitude.   

 

Please join us at 10 a.m. in the parish hall as we conclude our series of Adult Forums on Grateful this Sunday, August 26 (Chapter 7) and Sunday, September 9 (Chapter 8), led by Mother Cameron. There will be no Adult Forum on Sunday, September 2 (Labor Day Weekend).

 

Last Published: August 23, 2018 1:15 PM
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