It can be a cliché to say that the change of seasons is a time to reflect on changes in our lives. But the same can be said for expressing and thinking about what it means to be grateful for those people, experiences, and objects in our lives that give us a glimpse into the complex world we exist within.
Being grateful is typically a reaction to a gesture of good will or an unexpected gift from a friend. But to truly fall into gratitude means to make it an intentional and focused part of our daily routine. It is an exercise in mindfulness, a radical appreciation for seeing people and things as they are rather than what we wish them to be. Our own mental health and well being suffers because of doing the latter: we wish things would move faster in our lives, we wish people would act and say things more like us, we wish that everything would work harder at conforming to our expectations which often come to quickly and are set too high,
Gratitude is not code for settling. It is not some cheapened version of being happy with what you have. It is a state of being, an approach to reexamining and reconsidering everyone and everything in our life with a renewed sense of appreciation. In one way, we are continually renewing our ability to see experiences, objects, and relationships in a new light, a new frame of understanding as we also change each year, month, day, hour, second into a new being that is seen through the eyes of another. As the Jesuit Anthony deMello wrote, “Behold God beholding you…and smiling.”