{30 days} of thankful : day 17

when i started this whole {30 days}, my mom sent me a chapter from a book she is reading on thankfulness. although i struggle to fullly grasp the significance of being thankful, this chapter brought depth and a big-picture context to this practice. it also offered insight into why gratitude isn't often easy & why it certainly isn't often my default-mode of responding to things.

coming back to work after the holidays has been really difficult {surprise, surprise}. i had a brief taste of purpose + busyness + actually doing therapy before Christmas... and it was good. and now, just like that, things are right back to boring same old, same old. i can feel this dragging me down, and am realizing as i write, that this is why i started {30} days to begin with. to choose a different path for my heart, to resist getting dragged down.

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so, i'd like to share some excerpts that stand out to me from brian mclaren's naked spirituality, from a chapter entitled "Thanks: Dayenu - Enough and More, and More"

"Ingratitide makes us foolishly forget the fragility of our skin and proudly deny our dependency and interconnectedness. If true spirituality and authentic religion are about vital interconnectedness, you can see how essential the practice of gratitude must be. ...

"When we awaken to the addictive slavery of our contemporary never-enough system, we too want to go on a journey of liberation, and we too want to develop a humility of chracter enriched by daily dependence and daily gratitude, true thankfulness for daily bread. ...

"Like the sparrows flying overhead or the day lilies blooming beside the roadway, we live within creaturely limits, and we depend for our survival on resources outside of ourselves. the awareness of our creaturely limitations, dependence, and vulnerability doesn't make us less happy, Jesus suggests; it actually increases our happiness. It liberates us from the addictive drives of the never-enough system: more food, more drink, more clothes - always more, more, more. it liberates us to see ourselves as God's beloved creatures within God's creation instead of as self-made consumers in a self-made economic system.

"If we seek for other words to stand alongside the simple word thanks in expressing gratitude, i think one would be again, because one of the greatest obstacles to gratitude is the sheer bounty of God's generosity. ... So when I notice that I've been taking these gifts for granted... I rededicate myself to the practice of gratitude: "Again, God, again you have blessed me. Again, I savor this gift. Again I appreciate. Again I say thanks. Again. Again."

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oh. again, today, i say thanks for a home, a paying job, a car, and warm clothes on this cold January day. I say thanks for a husband and church and family and friends. for oxygen, mountains, a full stomach, quenched thirst. for the memory of days of fulfilling work, and the hope of that to come.

katie anne

Source: Brian McLaren (2011). Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words. pages 57-62.

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