The quote from a handful of days ago was “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Maybe it should be this instead: “Gratitude leads to abundance. Abundance leads to giving. Giving leads to joy.” Thoughts?
Tonight was the first night I was able to head back to our regular church in a few months. It had opened a few weeks ago, but due to schedules and timing I wasn’t able to join the family for mass until today.
There was so much that was different – masks, sanitizer, being ushered to seats, sitting far away from others, no singing, and some more subtle changes. I still remember Father Mark telling us way back in the day how we need to sit closer together and slide to the middle of the pews instead of hugging the aisles – what a change today was!
While the changes were many the rest was exactly the same. It was a place to stop and think, to reflect, to pray, and to be thankful. Sitting in the pew listening to the start of church left my eyes watering a bit as it felt so right in spite fo being so different. I had the words of Father Dodge from a sermon a couple of weeks ago in my head talking about fear distracting us from God. There were changes all around, but the focus wasn’t on them, it was on the “why” we were all together in the building. It felt like home.
Throughout the service I kept thinking about all that I am grateful for. Seeing the guy who looks like and reminds me of Dad. Mary Ellen playing piano with her passionate gusto. Father Dodge cracking a joke or two while simultaneously making sure everything goes as planned. Hearing other people say the Lord’s Prayer and the Nicene Creed. Taking time to kneel and look up to the statue of Jesus. Being there with my family.
My mind also wandered to so many things outside of the four wall of church itself. My family and I are healthy. We live in a free society. We are able to meet at church. The time we’ve spent as a family together. The opportunity to find beauty in a challenge. The ability to find ways to be joyful and love others even during difficult situations.
As my mind wandered on these thoughts I was drawn more and more to the concept that’s been on my mind much of this week. Gratitude leads to an abundance mindset. When we take time to be thankful for all the blessings in our lives – even the challenges – we have the opportunity to choose our attitude and find a way to be thankful for even the most difficult times.
When we consciously choose gratitude we start to see everything around us as it should be, a blessing. We’re fortunate to still be alive. We’re fortunate to be going through this challenge. We’re fortunate to be able to have the ability to choose gratitude. We’re fortunate to have existed.
When we see everything as a blessing we see only opportunity. Some blessings may be very easy to see, others may take some time. Regardless, we know that with the right mindset even the most difficult of challenges will ultimately make us stronger and we can learn from them. Hence, there are only positive opportunities. There is only abundance.
Earlier this week I quoted Yoda: “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” This quote is spot on, but it points in a direction opposite of where I prefer to focus.
Try this one on for size: “Gratitude leads to abundance. Abundance leads to giving. Giving leads to joy.”
I almost started to change it because I started to think out love for others should be listed in that thought process. After thinking about it, that is very much what is at the core of all of it. Love is another example of something to be thankful for, find abundance of, and to ultimately give. Thoughts?