This is a guided meditation I led at my church. May it speak to your heart also.
I’m feeling incredibly broken right now. In the past 6 months 2 people that I know have been shot and killed. Both young women in their twenties and both from the church I was very involved in for seven years. On Tuesday I found out a friend from college has cancer. And in addition to all of that I’ve been processing some heavy personal disappointments of my own. It is quite fitting that I am here tonight to talk about gratitude because if I am only able to say thank you to God when everything is going well than my thank you doesn’t really mean anything. If gratitude is something I only express when everything is going according to plan than it can never become a spiritual practice that becomes life giving and life changing.
Someone recently asked me why am I so drawn to gratitude and I struggled to articulate an answer. The best way that I can put it is that the ability to cultivate gratitude has saved my life. Some of us have had many, many things go wrong in our lives and I am one of them. As someone with a history of depression sometimes I become overwhelmed. For me being depressed is like being locked into a pitch black room. There are no windows, no doors. It’s totally dark and I can’t see. I can’t see God. I can’t see the ones around me. It’s so dark I can’t even see myself. But when I find something in my life to be grateful for and give thanks light comes into the room and I can see again. The doors open and I can be reached. I can be reached by God. I can be reached by those who love me. I can be reached by joy even in the midst of pain.
I want you to close your eyes and take a deep breath. Think about a painful situation in your life for a moment. Acknowledge it. Feel the weight of it. Take it all in. Now search for something good even in that situation. Is there any good to be found? Is there anything to be grateful for? Find it and focus on it. Take a deep breath and as you breathe, breathe in gratitude. Without ignoring the pain, focus on what you’re grateful for and breathe in gratitude. With every breath let if fill you; let it fill your body and soul. Let gratitude fill the thoughts of that painful situation and bring in its light. Take another breath. Take another breath. Allow your heart to rest in this place of gratitude. Carry this gratitude with you throughout your day.
Following the Way,