The Possibility of Gratitude

The Benefit of Keeping an Open Mind to the Possibility of Gratitude

The distance around my elliptical driveway is one-tenth of a mile. I know this because I drove around it, watching the odometer—and then did it again just to be sure. Sometimes in the fall, I take a careful jog-trot around its leaf-strewn gravel, a compromise intended to jump-start a flagging metabolism without putting undue wear and tear on aging joints and narrowing spinal interstices. Five times around makes for a half-mile of elevated heart rate, deep breathing, and an uncluttered mind. 

Of course, the gift of those empty mental parentheses is that I get to decide what I’m thinking about while I’m avoiding loose stones in the path and thanking God for the fiery red Virginia creeper and the rusty orange of fading marigolds. Lately, I’ve been following the example of Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet who watched the nation of Israel disintegrate before his very eyes.  

In Lamentations, Jeremiah records the morbid details around the sacking of Jerusalem and the devastation of siege warfare, but by chapter three, he has turned a corner and made a choice. He leaves his mental parentheses open just long enough for an act of the will, and, shutting out the evidence for despair that lies all around him, he “calls to mind” a new thought that gives him hope:

“But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
 

Lamentations 3:21-23

The beauty of this poetic tribute to God’s faithfulness is heightened by its context.  To intentionally call to mind images of gratitude in the midst of peace and prosperity is one thing, but it takes a sinewy faith to summon them when chaos reigns and the future looks bleak.

I’m digging into this topic in more detail with my friend on the west coast, Sue Moore Donaldson, and if you CLICK HERE, you can join the conversation over at Welcome Heart. Oh, and I’m also sharing my tried and true recipe for cornmeal rolls–a great make-ahead for Thanksgiving dinner, or any dinner where it’s nice to have the rolls taken care of in advance.

Holding you in the Light,

Michele Morin

To intentionally call to mind images of gratitude in the midst of peace and prosperity is one thing, but it takes a sinewy faith to summon them when chaos reigns and the future looks bleak.

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31 thoughts on “The Benefit of Keeping an Open Mind to the Possibility of Gratitude”

  1. Michele, I love this post. Jeremiah has become a favorite of mine. He was so authentic with the Lord and in his writings. I’ve found this year has been a bit challenging as far as taking time to stop and practice gratitude. It’s such an important facet of our walks with Jesus though. Thank you for the reminder to be intentional to turn my heart and thoughts toward the Lord to be thankful for all He’s done and for all He’s given me. I’ll be pulling out my own little journal today to write down things I’m grateful for.

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  2. Michele, such good words here; Jeremiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible, and these verses are so beautiful. Sometimes we do need the reminder to remain open minded to gratitude!

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  3. I’ve probably mentioned it here before but several years ago I started a gratitude journal titled: A Celebration of Small Things. I only write down one or two items, so it doesn’t take very long. But I’ve found it to be a valuable tool for developing gratitude as I consider all the events and lovely moments of the day that I could record. It’s also delightful to look back at earlier pages and remember previous delights. I wish I’d started this journal years ago!

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  4. I’ve been reciting those verses we learned from Lamentations 3 in my mind again this week. I so need them. And I so need to be reminded to give thanks for his fresh grace every morning!

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  5. Never thought of this before about Lamentations. It is easy to think good things and be grateful when things are rosy, but when mot, that’s a different matter. Love your descriptions of walking the driveway loop. It makes me want to come walk it with you.

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  6. Michele, what a compelling post. Giving thoughts to your words. This —> “To intentionally call to mind images of gratitude in the midst of peace and prosperity is one thing, but it takes a sinewy faith to summon them when chaos reigns and the future looks bleak.” Blessings.

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing your post at our Senior Salon Pit Stop.
    Pinned to Senior Salon Pit Stop InLinkz Linkup Shares board and tweeted @EsmeSalon #SeniorSalonPitStop

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I go running in the warmer months and l love emptying my mind, enjoying nature, focussing on my body rather than worries. Thanks for linking up with #MischiefAndMemories

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