” To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us- and He has given us everything. Every breath is a draw, is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God.For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. ” ~ Thomas Mentor
I still remember it like it happened yesterday. Five years ago, I was being tested by God (and still am to some extent) by going through the most dreadful experience in my life. As a parent, you will understand that there is nothing more horrifying, harsh and hurtful than your kids being away from you. My heart was filled with anger. I was mad and furious at this World, and I couldn’t stop questioning the reasons behind many life events. I couldn’t stop questioning the Universe “WHY ME?” Especially if you are a good person with good intentions towards this World, the questioning game will be too strong that all your questions will be in “Caps Lock” and “Highlighted in Yellow” to emphasize on the degree of frustration and suffering!
I used to hear from people the familiar encouragement phrases that we hear and even say to others all the time. In my case those were as examples: “Be thankful that they are alive”, “You are still blessed”, “Think of the big picture”, “You can still see them!” And the famous one: “Everything in life happens for a reason, and at the end you will discover it was for your benefit”, which I am guilty of saying to people all the time!
I am sure you have heard those phrases or similar ones that are customized for different scenarios so many times in your lives, and I am assuming like me at that time, your first reaction every single time (whether you kept it to yourself or yelled it out loud) would be: “What the heck are you talking about?”
It took time for me to understand the true meaning behind these phrases. It took me another test from God in a form of a disguised blessing at that time to make peace with the concept of gratitude and to be thankful for something and later on for everything.
But there were 2 events that took place which shifted my perspective around gratitude. One was when my dad was diagnosed with cancer within the same period of “My Boys Test”, as I like to call it, the other was when we lost his physical body from this world (his soul is still with us) after bravely and gracefully fighting through his battle.
The shift was this: I stopped having “WHY ME” questions. Something has changed in me forever.
During mourning, I spent days and nights alone trying to have answers to my new enlightening questions to relax my thirsty soul. When you’ve welcomed death through your front door, a sense of humbleness spreads over you; meaning, you are humble in your prayers to God and the Universe, you are humble with others but mostly with yourself. You feel small and insignificant in the scheme of things and you see life from a different perspective. That longing to your loved ones makes you prioritize your feelings, dreams and see through your blessings.
I have discovered that I have so many blessings that I wasn’t paying attention to but sadly wasn’t being thankful for. I honestly admit here, as we have already sealed the deal when we launched this website that it is OUR safe space to be transparent and share with no judgments, the fact that I took for granted for so long that I am alive and healthy, my kids are alive and healthy, we have shelter, food, clean water and air, and have family and friends around us living in a secure healthy and loving environment. The above basics are, unfortunately, a dream for so many people around this globe. Spend one day with sick people to realize how blessed you are. Travel to unprivileged areas to come back loving thanking every bit of your life even the ugly parts. Go to the cemetery and send a thankful prayer to God that you are still alive to live your life More, serve More and be More.
I have got it wrong for so long, and I am here want you to learn from my mistakes. You don’t have to go through tragedies and painful experiences to appreciate what you have. You don’t have to question everything for too long to get the right answers. You don’t have to experience sickness to be thankful for health, loss to be thankful for life, sadness to be thankful for happiness, deprivation to be thankful for the basics you have. I realized this life does not owe me ANYTHING, I owe it ALL to life. Constant victimizing will not take you anywhere, more than to that dirty dark hole of pettiness you are digging yourself in.
Gosh how much I hated that hole! But here I am now!
Being grateful puts you in a consistent state of happiness and peacefulness. You stop taking life and people around you for granted. I started cherishing every moment I spend with people I meet, I started being fully present when I am around my kids and started being thankful to anything and anyone I encounter.
I am not telling you to sit on your coach every day listening to your favorite music and day dreaming because you are grateful ( although you should do that at least once a week for your own sanity). Gratitude is being thankful for every single tiny piece of your life and circumstances as they currently are while working to make things better, while go out there fulfilling your dreams, living your life and be present fully. Gratitude tells you to Be More You! My life has started over again when Gratitude filled my heart. My daily routine includes sending two thankful prayers to God, one in the morning for giving me the chance to live another day, and the second one at night for guiding me through the day and giving me the chance to experiment it all.
When you start counting your blessings they will multiply , how many have you counted so far? Plenty right! Now sit, relax and let the Magic of Gratitude do wonders to you.
Sending You My Dad a little prayer.