High River United Church of High River, Alberta


Gratitude - The Path of 1,000 Things for which I am Thankful

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I put out the 1,000 things dare last week! How did you do? How far did you get alone, or with others, in naming 1,000 things for which you are grateful?


What I’ve learned is that naming that for which I’m thankful takes time. The second thing I learned is that it is easy to start dismissing things – the eraser on my pencil, is that worth being thankful for? Well of course it is. Imagine life without an eraser.


It took me about half an hour to put down the first 50 things on paper (though some people noted that I was probably closer to 100 since I listed several items or people under one number). At that rate, it would have taken me 20 hours to write my whole list. So I needed another approach to keep my list going.


Truthfully, I have no idea what number I am at in my list. As I am going to sleep at night, I add to the list. If I wake in the middle of the night, I add to my list. If I am frustrated in a situation, I take the advice from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to heart, “Give thanks in all circumstances,” and search for things for which I can name my gratitude (not always easy in the midst of the emotion.)


Naming 1,000 things for which to be grateful really needs to become a way of life, the Jesus way of life. I can easily find my mind mulling and going round and round on something that is frustrating or infuriating. I can get myself wound around hurtful words or actions that someone has directed toward me. But this only depletes my energy. They become a black hole with no escape. Whereas gratitude offers me a path of life and light and hope.


Within the Jewish tradition, there is a practice of beginning the day by thanking God for bringing one to a new day.   I’ve started to practice that as well. As soon as I wake up (I just need to remember in the grogginess of the first few moments of wakefulness), I say, “Thank you, God, for restoring me to this day.” There is something beautiful about that prayer. It reminds me that the day is a gift. It reminds me that I have choices and opportunities ahead of me. It reminds me that all that I am and all that I do is rooted and held within God’s love.


Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism, once said, “A journey of one thousand miles begins with one step.”


So too the journey to naming 1,000 things for which to be grateful begins with one gratitude named, and creates a whole practice of living gratefully.

October 17, 2019               ©Susan Lukey 2019



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