My heart is heavy. In a instant, I’ve been reminded how tragic life can be.
A friend’s cousin died in a car accident. He left behind a wife and baby boy.
A former student of mine committed suicide. Michelle Duggar suffered a miscarriage.
As I pondered life and death and the wide range of emotions we experience with both, a scripture passage came to mind (Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks. – 1 Thes 5:16).
A friend of mine suggested it to me once as I rambled on about how tough my life was in that particular moment. Since then, it has been a verse I’ve tried to center myself around. Easier said than done.
Last week in church, the priest delivered the following message to us:
A study was conducted over the course of 60+ years on people who were the happiest with their lives. Those deemed happiest of all agreed that the best way to live a happy, satisfying life was to:
Always be grateful
I’ll save “love unconditionally” for another time because “always be grateful” struck me most. He continued by giving some examples of people who found gratitude in the most difficult situations.
A family who had just lost their 19 year old son to cancer was grateful that he went quickly and without pain.
The father of an infant child (who only lived 21 hours) was grateful to have met his son.
As I listened with tears in my eyes, I clung to my (healthy!) son who squirmed on my lap. Would I be able to do the same? I’m not sure.
What I do know is that in the moments since I’ve started this new journey, I’ve been far happier with myself and my life.
By finding the joy in each day and embracing life as it comes, I am actually showing my gratitude. And it is making me a happier person.
This week, I didn’t have a chance to prepare for the readings ahead of time. I allowed life to get in the way. Much to my surprise (and delight) the second readings was 1 Thes 5:16-24. Yet another reminder to give thanks always.
I don’t know what you are walking through right now. Maybe you are grieving, too. Maybe you aren’t happy with your situation. Maybe you are struggling. Maybe you just have too many things on your plate and not enough hours in the day. Maybe you are frustrated because things never seem to go your way.
I know it might be tough, but I challenge you to find something to be grateful for. Start small and allow your gratitude (and your happiness) to grow.
Life happens when we express gratitude in all situations.
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