In Chapter 3 (“First Flight”) of One Thousand Gifts, author Ann Voskamp recounts her first step toward a life of gratitude. It’s July, and Ann is cutting cucmber slices in a friend’s kitchen in preparation for a barbecue. Out of the blue, Ann’s friend remarks that Ann has changed. Ann had thought that her change was embryonic, not yet in full bloom. When her friend asked if that change was the result of the list Ann had been writing, Ann said yes.
What Ann realized was that it wasn’t enough to think warm and fuzzy thoughts about eucharisteo– she had to put theory into practice. The author quotes Jean Pierre de Caussade, from his book Abandonment to Divine Providence: “When one is thirsty, one quenches one’s thirst by drinking, not by reading a book on the subject.”
The list Ann’s friend references was a dare from one of Ann’s friends to write a list of 1000 things she loved. As the list began to take shape, so did a subtle transformation in Ann. Ann observes: “Sometimes you don’t know when you’re taking the first step through a door until you’re already inside.”
As the quote by Sarah Ban Breathnach that begins Chapter 3 indicates, gratitude leads to reverence:
“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”