Thursday, October 13, 2016
Gratitude in Hiding
October 13, 2016 At times it's amazing to me how difficult it can be to maintain the habit of gratitude. We live in the midst of abundance, with all the advantages of modern medicine, communication, and technology, with freedoms unimaginable to most people throughout history. We live in more luxury than the most resplendent monarchs of history, but reading the newspaper or social media, or watching television news reveals a level of dissatisfaction and utter disdain for what we have that is nearly inexplicable. Perhaps it is the pervasiveness of modern media that tends to direct our attention to the things that are wrong in life. People doing good doesn't rate as news and media saturates modern society, so we are exposed to negativity from the moment we wake up till we go to sleep by the eleven o'clock news. The only way I know to avoid getting caught up in a vicious cycle of cynicism is to deliberately choose different stuff to put into our minds, from the moment we arise till we lay our heads upon our pillows at night. It is almost natural for us to see the negative; it's all around us, and people are continually calling our attention to it. Deciding to focus on that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), takes a deliberate act of the will that can be a struggle to maintain. We tend not to notice the blessings that fill our days, much the same way as we notice a small spot on a white shirt more than the rest of the otherwise spotless cloth. Today was one of those days. It was busy with meetings and work, but nothing stood out and grabbed my attention as being praiseworthy. There was plenty of praiseworthy stuff, but the ordinariness of the day carried me from beginning to end with little thought of all for which I could give thanks. So tonight, I pause and reflect on all the small and otherwise unnoticeable blessings that filled the day. They are many, ranging from the ability to get out of bed, to being able to offer assistance to a pastor friend, to helping my son with his firewood. I am grateful for these and many other blessings tonight.