A very wise friend of mine has a gratitude journal. Inspired by that journal, I started my own version of that journal. It was and is still a word document where I have a conversation with God about my struggles and I give thanks for my joys. Over the period of the past 2 years this simple practice of writing to God every few days has opened up a part of my heart I didn't know I had access to, the place where I could truly find joy, blessings and gratitude for my struggles and my cross. As a Catholics, we talk about our crosses. Each woman and man have a cross that they are to bear. That cross is our opportunity to find joy and turn it into a ministry. It's a simple practice to think about our crosses but it is a difficult task to turn those crosses into positive parts of our lives.
During an extremely difficult part of my life (at least so far) I said very off the cuff that I was turning the shit that I had been given into fertilizer and I would grow some amazing flowers with that shit. It was a very real metaphor for the life that I want to live. We are all going to have hard times and difficult times but we have the power to turn that shit into fertilizer and grow some amazing produce or flowers. This metaphor helped me power through the last 2 years and helped me make good choices as a result. I am proud of my ability to dig into my farming roots and find so much hope and love there!
This attitude of gratitude has now become a habit. Just the other night (New Year's Eve) I was sleeping at a friend's house and awoke to some very loud snoring. I was patient, waiting for the snoring to stop but it did not and I could not fall back to sleep. It was in that moment that I quickly said a prayer in my head. It came so naturally that I am still in awe that I could find gratitude even in this moment, and then I fell peacefully back to sleep. What was that simple prayer? "Dear Jesus, thank you for this amazing friend that I am able to spend New Year's with. Thank you for his rest and thank you for the reminder of the blessing to be able to rest together in a house full and surrounded by family and friends, rather than empty and alone. Amen."
I am going to challenge you going into 2017 to find your attitude of gratitude. Are you blessed with a messy house? Because that means you have loved ones that enjoy this journey known as life with you. Are you blessed with a job that is difficult? Perhaps this will help you grow as a professional or push you to pursue a dream? Do you have a difficult friend or family member? Perhaps this blessing means that you get to grow and be the bigger person! Maybe you have a loved one struggling with a terminal illness? Use this time to experience life with them as well as death. So much gratitude can be found in more than just our actual blessings but also our struggles and crosses! Here's to a 2017 filled with gratitude and joy!!! God bless you all!