I have been looking for a spiritual director off and on for several years. I haven’t found any one I’ve clicked with yet – I keep looking.
One of the potential directors was a good woman I had known from a parish I used to attend. We had a good conversation, though I did not find myself ready for her “happy” approach – I use “happy” not as a dig at her, but because I can’t think of a better word. Her approach would certainly work for some people – it just did not click with me.
One of the things she suggested was keeping a gratitude journal. Each day I was supposed to record at least one thing I was grateful about. I tried, but I couldn’t keep it up – a commentary more on me than on the method. I tend to be critical, to focus on what’s wrong rather than what’s right.
But lately, I have been doing just what she suggested. Each day for the past few weeks I tried to make the first original post I make on Twitter or Facebook be a statement about something I’m grateful for.
In looking back, I see some patterns.
--- Some of the comments clearly arise from happy moments while walking the dog andencounters with the beauties of the world.
I'm grateful for being able to begin my day by walking the dog after a couple of days away.
I am grateful I live where I can walk my dog in the early morning hours in safety.
I'm grateful for the glow of a streetlight at the corner.
I'm grateful for the sight of a dog with its head out the window of a passing car.
I'm grateful for the neighbor's dogs who greet me at the fence whenever they see me.
I'm grateful every time my dog greets me with at the door with her tail wagging.
I am grateful for the pre-dawn songs of birds
I'm grateful for fresh flowers from our garden arranged in a vase.
I'm grateful for fresh vegetables from our garden.
Big on dogs!
--- Some arise from people I encounter or who have affected my life.
I'm grateful for personable waitresses.
I'm grateful for smiling grocery store clerks.
I am grateful for organized people.
I'm grateful for the people who developed aspirin.
I am grateful for the opportunity to spend a day praying with fellow Secular Franciscans.
--- Some of my posts are based on good and holy people – and people working to help others.
I am grateful for the models Saints provide us.
I'm grateful for all the people who work and volunteer in pregnancy and legitimate health centers.
I'm grateful for all the pro-lifers who will rally today outside Planned Parenthoods.
I'm grateful for the love and courage of those who are willing to risk - and sometimes even lose - their lives for the sake of others.
I'm grateful for the example of Venerable Solanus Casey, who went home 58 years ago yesterday.
--- Some are based on the talents of others.
I am grateful for folksingers sharing their songs and getting us to sing along.
I'm grateful for a wonderful free Dady Brothers folk concert on the lakeshore on a warm summer evening.
I am grateful for the early country rock religious music of John Michael Talbot.
--- Some are focused on life’s little pleasures
I'm grateful for a cool morning breeze after a stuffy night.
I'm grateful for warm showers.
I’m grateful for rum raisin ice cream.
I'm grateful I belong to a religion that does not forbid coffee, diet cola, or alcohol!
I am grateful for a small glass of good, dark beer before bed.
I'm grateful for the first smell of coffee in the morning.
I'm grateful the clouds parted to reveal the "blue moon."
I am grateful for sunrises over July cornfields.
I'm grateful for opportunities to reconnect with old friends.
I'm grateful I live in an area where there are nearby daily Masses available.
--- And then there’s the silly.
I'm grateful my wife never got any tattoos.
I'm grateful for imaginary friends because I know they'll always be there when I need them.
Yes, there’s a lot to be grateful for. If I keep expressing gratitude maybe I’ll develop a more happy, peaceful view of life and all of God’s gifts - and focus less on what’s wrong with the world or in my life.
Maybe now I can appreciate that spiritual director I was not ready for a few years back.
Pax et bonum