Through the Lens of Gratitude or Ingratitude

Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord…    (Hab. 3:17-18)

Every year for Thanksgiving we would drive to Mississippi to be with family.  One year I noticed that this message— “An Attitude of Gratitude”—was on a poster in every room.

I picked up one of these signs and went to find the hostess.  I said, “I’ve noticed this message everywhere this year.  What’s up?”

She said, “We were going to tell you later about what happened, but I will tell you now.  Last May I was in an alcohol-induced coma for a week.  When I woke up and the doctors told me I’d almost died, everything felt different.  Life became more precious.  I’m no longer drinking.  Everyday I have ‘an attitude of gratitude’ for one more day.  That’s the reason why that message is everywhere.”

Studies show that we can change the hardwiring of our brain by writing down what we were thankful for that day.  Do this exercise for a month—again, so say the studies—and we will begin to see our life through the lens of gratitude.  The opposite is also true: If we concentrate on what we don’t like, we’ll more likely see everything through the lens of ingratitude and discontent.

How do we see the world, others, life?  Through the lens of gratitude or ingratitude?  We have a choice.  That’s what the psalmist is saying in today’s scripture.  Even though the trees don’t blossom, the vines yield no fruit, the olive crops fail, and the flocks get lost, he will still rejoice.

When my family member woke up from a coma, she chose to have an attitude of gratitude everyday moving forward.  I encourage us to make the same choice.  Funny thing about choosing gratitude: the more we’re grateful, the more we see things to be grateful for.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What is the predominate lens through which you see the world? Through the eyes of ingratitude of gratitude? Do you think more about what you don’t have, or what you do have?
  1. It took nearly dying to change my relative’s attitude. If an attitude change would be helpful for you, what would it take?
  1. If you woke up each day with an attitude of gratitude, how would your life change? Consider this: If we had more of an attitude of gratitude, would people be grateful to be with us?

One thought on “Through the Lens of Gratitude or Ingratitude

  1. John Madison

    I appreciate this post so much. I have found over the years that I need “thank you” to be the heart of my prayers.

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