Why give thanks
“I learn by going where I have to go,” Theodore Roethke wrote. And that’s an important concept. All of life cannot be planned. Our life is God’s and gratitude is its key.
Giving thanks to God is good psychologically to keep our thoughts light and full of energy. It is not true, psychologists tell us, that we think the way we feel. On the contrary, we feel the way we think, and thoughts can be changed.
Giving thanks to God is good spiritually. That is the beginning of contemplation.
Giving thanks to God is good socially. It makes us a positive presence in a group. (Only negative people want to be around negative people.)
We need to stop and thank God—consciously—for the good things of the day. We spend so much time wanting things to be better that we fail to see our real gifts. There are banquets in our life and we don’t enjoy them because we are always grasping for something more: the perfect schedule, the perfect work, the perfect friend, the perfect community. We have to realize that God’s gifts are all around us, that joy is an attitude of mind, an awareness that my life is basically good. Dissatisfaction is too often a sign of something wrong in me.
The ordinary is what reveals to us, little by little, inch by inch, “the holiness of life, before which,” Dag Hammarskjöld wrote, “we bow down in worship.”
—from Songs of the Heart: Reflections on the Psalms (Twenty-Third Publications), by Joan Chittister