Are you down today? Perhaps grief and loss have derailed you and you are finding it hard to get back to a standing position, let alone getting any forward motion. Maybe some other disappointment has temporarily sucked the air out of you and you are trying to find some way to come back.
I can say with certainty “I have been there.” I am still right there some days. Having lost my soul mate and life partner 16 months ago, I still find I must make my way through my days often in dark places. This book has helped me more than any other, outside of scripture, to see the way to a better place, and yes, to find joy!
The book is the New York Times Bestseller: One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp (click here to view her website). Anne had dealt with unresolved grief and pain since childhood. She vowed to try to come to healing and understanding, to find what was missing. What was missing was joy.
In simple terms, she discovered “eucharisteo“. What, pray tell is THAT?!? It is simply gratitude or giving thanks. The term came originally from the “Last Supper” when the Lord gave thanks, then blessed and served his disciples, knowing within hours what He was facing.
Over weeks and months, Ann committed, after a challenge from a friend, to find 1,000 gifts to be thankful for. Like what, you ask? …a butterfly that lights on the kitchen window sill, …the shimmering rainbow in a droplet of water on a washed glass in the drain board, …a son’s hand that still existed after a horrific accident and months of therapy.
The first words that grabbed my heart and made me pay attention were these: “Gratitude precedes the miracle.”
GRATITUDE PRECEDES THE MIRACLE … let that sink in.
Could it be so basic? Could it be that simply noticing the beautiful gifts around me could bring actual joy instead of this lingering sadness? Was I willing to challenge myself? I was inspired. What, really, did I have to lose, except this frozen ball of ice around me, which I hated, anyway?
I started. Walking across the parking lot at work I saw a red-tailed hawk swoop down in front of me, close to the roof. He was magnificent! He left, then soared back close to let me see his beauty before he climbed above the slope and dive-bombed to his prey somewhere above me. #1: Red Tailed Hawk show, just for me.
Email from a friend: “My long-term soul mate has cancer. I have decided to marry him and really walk this walk with him. Seeing your strength and courage with Lou, has given me the belief I too can do this. “ #2: Thank you God for Lou’s cancer and that my open sharing gave courage to my friend.
A new friend’s son is walking a dangerous path, self-destructive, heart-breaking, with some new pain every day. Gratitude precedes the miracle, I tell her, as we pray. She focuses on that one thing for two weeks. Good things begin to happen, tiny positive changes.
A good friend’s daughter has breast cancer. We visit and talk about gratitude. She shares how she finds 5 things to be thankful for every day. She thinks she must be the happiest person with cancer ever. Could it be a result of her gratitude?
At lunch with my boss and friend, he said carefully and with great purpose at the finish, “You are finally back! I have watched your sad journey and have waited for the day when I could say this: The spark of life is back in your eyes and in your voice and in your outlook.” #76: Someone has seen life in my eyes, hope in my heart.
Is it possibly true? Can simple gratitude change a life of sorrow back to a life of light and hope and sometimes even joy? Part of mine was needing to see some good purpose, even in the pain.
I am well on my way to my own 1,000 gifts. Actually, I don’t intend to stop there. If the first 1,000 can help this much, why would I ever stop?
Can you relate?
Can an attitude actually be the start of a miracle?
Please share your thoughts.
I love the mindset that this blog brings to grief. It’s not about trying to turn sorrow into joy, it’s looking for blessings as they come along and we often need to be more intentional about that, especially when we are sad. I so appreciate you sharing your reading experience with us and the idea of being grateful and checking our perspective during any and all stages of life, but most especially, when we are in need of hope and light.
I love this, thank you so much!
Thanks for your kind words. Every day, as things happen, gratitude springs forth. Another side effect of it is that I am slower to take on someone else’s irritability or frustrations. I feel like the small joys I just experienced must be “protected” and savored. Negativity can rob it away fairly quickly.
I think people in grief or people in general can benefit from this book. I also think the blog she writes is an easy way to re-inspire us.