“To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything he has given us — and he has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of his love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from him.” –Thomas Merton
God is the penultimate giver and, as such, he deserves and expects our thanks. Besides, being thankful is good for us. It makes us more positive, more loving, more generous in spirit.
With that in mind, let’s think about just two ways we might learn to make gratitude a natural outflow of our lives:
1. Invite the senses: We can live with more intensity when we consciously engage the senses. It’s like jumping into the lake instead of skimming over it in a sailboat. Jump into your sensory life. Feel the sun on your skin, really taste the food you eat, drink in the beauty of a single bloom. Our bodies need to be part of our experience of God’s gifts. Swim, don’t skim.
2. Savor the moment: Some of us tend to go through life on auto pilot, doing things without even thinking. But taking a little more time (a) to connect with someone, (b) to experience that emotion we are running from, or (c) to pause to ask for God’s insight develops awareness of the moments and not just the passing of the days.
Why are senses and savoring important? They help us become more attuned to the many gifts we are constantly being given. And then, we begin to realize we have Someone to thank. Gratitude naturally flows out of a life lived mindfully. Try it.
“On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate . . . and I will declare your greatness.” – Psalm 145:5-6