At the end of the month here in the States we will be celebrating Thanksgiving and I thought that this year in an effort to do a little better I would try, for myself, to make this month 30 days of an attitude of gratitude. While thinking about this I went searching for examples, quotes and thoughts, for food for thought on thanksgiving.
In scripture, Luke 17, we find the story of the ten lepers who had been healed of their leprosy by Christ. Of those ten only one came back to express gratitude for the miracle of recovered health. Why only one? Were the other nine that insensitive? Were they thinking, He told us to go show the priest so we'll do that first then send Him a thank you note? Did they get so caught up in the joy that getting around to the sending the thank you note never happened? Or because they had the faith that they could be healed the expectation of the healing didn't require thanks?
I ran across this quote from Gordon B. Hinckley
Gratitude is of the very essence of worship. . . .
. . . When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives. [TGBH, 250]
The act of gratitude may seem like a simple thing, but from the above quote I'm thinking that there is so much more that gratitude does to a person. When you walk with gratitude you 1.) reflect on the gift, blessing, service given to you, 2.) you feel undeserving and humbled that one would do that for you and 3.) you feel great love and/or respect for the giver. If received in this spirit, the act of gratitude can change a person.
A phrase from "The Art of Thanksgiving" by Wilfred A. Peterson caught in my mind and I haven't been able to shake it: "The art of thanksgiving is thanksliving." That is the habit I would like to take for this month to work on just as Benjamin Franklin would do to work through his list of desired virtues to achieve "moral perfection".
What is thanks living? Peterson goes on to explain that it is "gratitude in action. It is applying Albert Schweitzer's philosophy: 'In gratitude for your own good fortune you must render in return some sacrifice of your life for other life.'"
In gratitude for the gift of life one would "live it triumphantly."
In gratitude for our talents we would feel the need/desire to share them with others.
In gratitude for opportunities (good or bad I might add - I'm thinking of Corrie Ten Boom and her experience with the fleas) that come our way one would accept them as a "challenge to achievement".
In gratitude for happiness one would strive "to make others happy."
In gratitude for beauty help make the "world more beautiful."
In gratitude for inspiration try "to be an inspiration for others."
In gratitude of health and strength do not purposefully do those things that would injure or harm your body.
In gratitude for creative ideas that enrich your life contribute ideas to enrich others.
In gratitude for each new day, live it to the fullest.
In gratitude to your God give "hands, arms, legs and voice to your thankful spirit."
To begin my quest to make this month a month of more thanks living, today I want to express to my Heavenly Father gratitude for my gift of eyesight. This offers the blessing of seeing the beauty around me, reading and watching various forms of media, watching my family and loved ones work, play, and develop relationships. It allows the blessing of sightseeing other parts of the country and world as I travel. My eyesight also gives me the opportunity to be creative through photography and share with you in this blog.
I pray that I might live in a way that shows my gratitude for this blessing of eyesight, that I may use it to view those things which are virtuous, lovely, praiseworthy, or of good report and should I see a need, that I might do what I can to help.
Happy 30 Days of Thanks Living!