When I first read this quote, I quickly thought, “Ugh, that one sounds like it comes from the front of a greeting card.” I stopped for a moment and read it again, and that’s when I caught the word “one.” Not “one” as in you only have one opportunity per day, but “one” as in you have this multitude of moments to say “thank you,” and have you even taken the time to just say it once?
We go through our days consumed by worries, concerns, and expectations. Rather than looking for the grace God offers us, we complain about what is missing in our lives. Rather than focus on the positive events around us, we see the glass half empty and wonder why we got short changed. At times, we may feel broken or overwhelmed or stressed, and we wonder, “What do I have to be thankful for?”
Several years ago when I was in a dark period of my life, a guardian angel gave me a book about healing quilts, each one designed and crafted by a person experiencing a physical or emotional challenge. One of the blankets had been created by a woman who had kept a list for a year. Each day she named one thing for which she was thankful then at the end of the year, she printed them on fabric and created a work of art to celebrate her gratitude.
That quilt inspired me to start a new journal. Every day, I found five items for which I could give thanks. Even on the most challenging days, I found 5 things~the checkout lady smiling at me as she rung up my groceries, the child hugging my leg as I entered a classroom, the feel of warm socks on a cold night, and so on. After awhile, it didn’t seem so hard to find things to be grateful for so I took the next step and challenged myself to express my gratitude daily.
That is when the healing and forgiveness began. Just letting others know how much I appreciated their help, their time, and their support encouraged me to stop focusing on the negative and start living in the positive. It also reminded me that gratitude is not a feeling, it is an action—a practice we should engage in regularly. Doing so not only nurtures our spirits but the spirits of others as well.
Let “thanksgiving” be a daily practice for you—there are 86,400 opportunities to practice thanksgiving daily—have you used just one?