Lent 2015 Day20 // Gratitude in the Ordinary

Image by Melissa Clayton

Image by Melissa Clayton

Psalm 16 

SCRIPTURE: 

"Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 
I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; 
I have no good apart from you.' 

. . . 

I keep the Lord always before me; 
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; 
my body also dwells secure . . . 
You show me the path of life; 
in your presence there is fullness of joy." 

PRAYER: 

Lord, thank you for everything. I take refuge in you for you are my God, and all good things come from you. I rejoice in you because your faithfulness shall not be shaken. In you I am secure. Thank you for showing me the path of life and all its good things - I am glad and joyful in your presence. Give me the grace to always remember you. Amen. 

Most of us are not fascinated with the ordinary. We desire to experience (at least once) the grandeur of breathtaking beauty, overwhelming riches, and delicious feasts. We don't usually find frozen chicken, dirty baby diapers, or our spouse's bedhead something to talk about. Yet if our lives are inarguably going to be full of the ordinary much more often than the extra-ordinary, are we doomed to live a life dulled by routine and habit? Just, normalcy

Perhaps. 

Unless we cultivate gratitude, that is. St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Calcutta were both beautiful examples of women who lived fascinating, vibrant lives through ordinary day-to-day events. St. Therese talks about finding joy in being thoughtlessly and continually splashed with dirty dishwater by a fellow sister. When we cultivate hearts of gratitude, we see the joy of children after playing outside - we experience their joy with them and refrain from immediately snapping about the mud in the house. We notice our spouse tired and stressed from work, and we are grateful that he can find a place of rest at home, that our tenderness can soften his mood. Someone cuts us off on the road, and we thank God that both cars escaped what could have been a serious accident. Our in-law brings up that embarrassing story again, and we are grateful for the ability to not take ourselves too seriously. Johnny forgot to take the trash out again, but we are thankful that he shows sensitivity to others and generously gives his time to neighbors. 

Basically, gratitude changes our entire response to ordinary life. 

When we learn how to be grateful in the ordinary, we start to find everything beautiful - in the streets you drive every day, the people closest to you, and the dirty kitchen you should have cleaned yesterday. We begin to see the bigger picture and understand (on a small level) how God can weave countless insignificant moments into a complex, beautiful tapestry: opportunities to express gratitude and thus grow in love.