“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness — it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”- Brene Brown
“It’s not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”- David Steindl-Rast
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”- John 14:6 (NIV)
In Chapter 6 (“Gratitude: Savoring God’s Gifts”) of Survival Guide for the Soul, Ken Shigematsu revisits the Prayer of Examen. Created by the sixteenth-century Spanish priest Ignatius of Loyola, the examen instructs us to review the previous twenty-four hours of our lives. As we do, we thank God for the times we felt most alive and most connected to our Creator. But we also lift up to God times of anger and anxiety as well as our disconnect from God and ourselves.
Above all, something happens when we give thanks for past events. We learn to savor the present moment. For example. Benedictine monks and nuns memorize all hundred and fifty psalms in the Bible. Then, they pray these psalms on a weekly cycle. Because the monks and nuns train their hearts to be grateful, Ken reports, they experience a deep, consistent joy. In addition, this enables them to embrace the gift of the present moment.
Certainly, most Christians know Jesus’ words in John 14:6. However, as Ken observes:
“Even though we often see Jesus as the truth — the embodiment of all wisdom — and we also see Jesus as the life — both in the world to come and as the fullness of God’s life now — we often fail to see Jesus as the way we are called to live our lives here and now. And the way Jesus lived is a perfect model for how we are called to live today. Jesus took time to savor the good gifts of life and to give thanks.”
Today’s question: When do you find yourself most likely to chase extraordinary moments? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Giving thanks on a regular basis”