The primacy of gratitude
January 14, 2022•418 words
"God, what do you want me to do? Do you want me to feed the hungry? Do you want me to sell my car and give to the poor? Do you want me to rescue homeless puppies?"
All of these are good actions to take by themselves.
And so we often come to God (or the universe or destiny or posterity or popular acclaim) with a list of good works to try and fulfill his will...
"The will of God is to give thanks," says a particular scripture.
Nevermind with my impressive feats of bravado. What God requires is my thanks.
Thanksgiving is not an action so much as it is a reaction. Before something is given to me, I can only make a request. Gratitude comes only after I have received something.
Gratitude, by definition, comes after I have received something.
And I have been given all things to enjoy. It's just that I am sometimes blind to the gifts I have been given.
The tiniest bug on the smallest flower in my shared landscape downstairs is an infinite gift. To say nothing of my friends and family and frenemies and rivals and enemies.
All the crap that fills my tiny apartment are gifts, as well as said tiny apartment.
All the good memories are gifts. All the unpleasant events are gifts. They are lessons, so they are gifts.
We are outraged by entitled behaviour. When we allow someone to cut in line in front of us, we expect thanks; a nod, at least. WE ARE OUTRAGED WHEN THEY ACT AS IF WE OWED IT TO THEM TO CUT IN FRONT OF US.
Our sense of justice is offended. Why?
The law of reciprocity. One good turn deserves another. This is a natural law.
Thus, when I go through my day unconscious of all the gifts around me that I take for granted, I am in contravention of natural law.
Gratitude, then, is the ability to see reality for what it is and respond accordingly. The only right response to the gift of life is gratitude. Do you see?
This is why the foundational attitude is gratitude. Everything else follows from gratitude.
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving."
A key marker of mental health is the ability to give thanks.
The more your gratitude muscle is exercised, the healthier your mind and the stronger your psyche.
(So... thank you for reading this.)
If you're grateful, exercise your gratitude muscle and your finger and give this a response. 😉