Gratitude in these days?
Is it appropriate to be grateful in times as perilous as these? Our planet is in crisis, unending wars rage on, the gap between rich and poor grows wider, gun violence escalates, and white supremacists grow bolder. Does gratitude make us too content with the way things are? Isn’t “counting our blessings” simply too indulgent for times like these?
On the contrary, gratitude might just be our savior in such times as these. Where else can our energy come from to “be the change” if, like flailing fish, we get hooked on despair or rage? Of course, despair and rage are perfectly natural for caring people in the face of such horrors as the plague of gun violence in America. But to be vigilant for change, despair is simply not an option, and rage must be channeled into action.
Gratitude can help us get our bearings once again, for it grounds us in mindfulness, opening fresh possibilities for creativity and change. For without gratitude, fiery fall trees would be lost on us, and so would the taste of apples or the touch on the arm of a caring friend. Without gratitude, we would hardly know what we are so passionate about saving or changing or reforming; without gratitude we would fall prey to the darkness around us. Joy, the offspring of gratitude, would be only a distant memory. But as the poet Jack Gilbert says, “We must have the courage to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.” Perhaps, then, gratitude is a form of resistance.
Read my entire essay at “Process Musings, a blog of spiritualityandpractice.com