The last week or so I’ve found myself worrying about a few things that I have no control over. I just don’t. Someone else does. The worrying leads to self-doubt and this barely resistible urge to run at top speed to some place else. Greener pastures or what appears to be greener pastures. The other pastures are probably no greener than the one I’m in.
The problem here is my worry, it doesn’t do me any good. It’s a natural for me. I suspect the worry tendency is natural for most though some are great at hiding it. I’m one of those people who wears their heart and thoughts on my face oft despite my best attempts otherwise. I find a poker face challenging.
“But Joseph said to [his brothers], ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’ ” Genesis 50:19, 20 – (NIV)
The Spiritual Work of Gratitude
To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives-the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections-that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.
Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God. – Henri Nouwen
Gratitude is hard work. Honestly I’m not always grateful for the challenging and somewhat painful (fear and worry causing) moments, times, events that come through my life. I can’t quite see where these are leading and how on earth they might be remotely beneficial in any way. I’m sure Joseph couldn’t see that either however ultimately Joseph trusted God would lead him. I am in a situation right now where I can not see where I’m going, I do not know for sure if I’m in the right place, it certainly does not feel like it.
I am going to figure out how to be grateful for this situation. Gratitude for what it has taught me, for what it will teach me. Gratitude for the gift that it is. This gift is part of my Journey to be contemplated and pondered. It’s going to require my attention in a different way. Yes, that’s it. It’s going to require my attention in a different way. The first is a moment of prayer before entering saying, “Thank you and I’m grateful” to God. The second good reminders along the way that gratitude is the way to go. Gratitude will bring a sense of peace. Gratitude and Happiness are two entirely different things and while not mutually exclusive they are not mutually inclusive either. I’d be certain that Joseph was not happy that his brothers did what they did, but he cultivated gratitude and did his best work. His gratitude led to being able to forgive and care for his family later.
I don’t know where cultivating gratitude in this situation will lead however it’s not for me to know right now. I know it will be hard work. And if it leads to peace, it’s a good thing.