“Gratitude is like cholera.” Not quite the way I was expecting the chapter to lead off but upon reading Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World) it seemed to make sense. Chris Lowney has written a book that teaches readers how to build a better. I had the pleasure of being part of a blog tour for the book, and my focus will be on Chapter 8 – Be More Grateful.
This is a trait that we often fall short on. As life comes at us from all directions many times, we think about the What Ifs? What if I got a newer vehicle wouldn’t my daily commute be better? What if I bought that new gadget wouldn’t I be more productive? What if I got that new (you fill in the blank)? The problem is we probably can get by without the new stuff and get by with what we have.
“Today’s average American lives more comfortably than the nineteenth century’s wealthiest tycoons, who never beheld the sky from an airplane seat, browsed a website, heated soup in a microwave, or looked at a color photograph.”
Now go back and re-read that paragraph from Chris…..slowly and let that reality sink in. Based on that statement alone we have no reason NOT to be grateful. The question is why don’t we practice gratefulness? Quite simply a Chris points out; it is because we forget.
We rarely look back to gauge how well off we are now. Instead we tend to always look forward to how things could be somehow better and that is a shortcoming on our part. A few examples in the chapter are your cellphone battery dies, or you’re stuck on hold with the insurance company. Two items that were unheard of 100 years ago are suddenly a massive inconvenience when they occur to us. When these things happen ….look out! We become some of the most ungrateful, selfish people known to humanity.
As Chris points out, don’t become a feverish, selfish little clod. “Remain grateful for all you have, and you’ll be blessed with a “whole life” in an era when countless Americans feel stuck with split lives.” When we are in prayer or at Mass, we may feel an intimate closeness to God. When we return to work well, that’s a separate thing. We tend to compartmentalize things including different aspects of our lives. Avoid that, live one life, and begin with gratefulness.
Today spend a few minutes reflecting on what and who you have in your lives. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” Be grateful because we have so much to be grateful for.