Living with gratitude: even in storms
On April 1, 2010, I wrote Happy Day Moment #1 on my Facebook page. Now it’s five years later (no kidding!) and I recently posted #1900 (thank you, oh smartphone), and every day of every year I now think about “living with gratitude.” IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. Focusing on finding a “happy/grateful” moment in each day has made me powerful and positive and able to conquer disappointment and pain and innumerable hard places.
Most days we’re sunshine beaming and flowers blooming and birds singing and chocolate and laughter and hugs from children. The posts were written when joyful euphoric smiling winning laughing.
When I began this Happy Day Moment project, I did not realize what it was preparing me for… I WAS happy—a few bumps and bruises and inconveniences from that thing, but my life was full of love and activities with family, grandchildren, friends, work …smoothness, sailing on calm, lovely water.
THEN….a storm. The … unexpected.
Where once when I made mistakes and I was forgiven, where once I loved and I was loved in return. Then suddenly where I made mistakes and I was not forgiven and my love was rejected.
A storm, a tempest I did not foresee. Turbulent waters. And in that storm, God made me brave. Brave to cling to Him and strong to live in that dark place, that hurt place, and yet to write flickers of light. To be prepared to see and write about moments of gratitude even when life is UNHAPPY.
Even in the midst of overwhelming and difficult and bewildering situations.
Battered and crushed with days of rain wind storms rejections sorrows. And yet. The posts of searching seeking discovering a Happy Day Moment were still written when depressed grieving sobbing troubled losing.
When it comes to the storms of life, we need gratitude to help steer us through.
Because it lifts us above circumstance.
Because it refocuses our attention.
Some days we wake up with body aches and heart aches and life is bleak and the truth is we’re tired and we know we just may carry sadness all day long. And then. We shift our focus, we look above, we refocus and we become grateful for love and for a God who can take our aches and replace them with joy, who can be light in darkness, a compass for direction ….even in the midst of storms and difficult places.
When we face a dark, formidable storm with bravery and gratitude, we WILL be changed.
Time and time again, that’s what I discovered. I found that whenever I navigated any rough terrifying circumstances with gratitude—even through storms and difficult Joseph-experiences and hard places, I was encouraged, strengthened, braver.
So, my hope and prayer for today is that no matter what our struggles storms hurts dark places, that we’ll choose to face all with gratitude, with discovering ONE moment of thankfulness. A moment outside ourselves, above our circumstance. A moment looking for a blessing.
When we steer our way with gratitude, we declare that the darkness does not win.
Today: I challenge us to live from a place of gratitude and joy.
This is what will help us to discover a Happy Day Moment:
Let’s have more gratitude. More understanding. More compassion. More grace. More mercy. More community. More forgiveness. More kindness. More charitableness.
Let’s not be cruel or hurtful or selfish or judgmental or isolating or thankless or intolerant or vengeful or rude.
Let’s keep our perspective. Our humor. Our appreciation.
Let’s be brave.
Let’s fill our hearts and minds and souls with gratitude. And with noticing a Happy Day Moment. Every day. To see us through any storm.