An Attitude of Gratitude
Fr. Tony’s Midweek Message
November 22, 2016
“So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer selves are withering away, our inner selves are being renewed each and every day. For our current bit of suffering—so insubstantial a burden as to be almost nothing—is kindling in us a weight of glory beyond any possible comparison.” (2 Cor. 4:16-17).
One of the things people ask me about Elena’s illness is how she and I are faring emotionally. The burden of disability is greater than that of caregiving, but both at times can be heavy. With a progressive, debilitating illness, people think, it is easy to lose heart. And so it is. Loss—be it of loved ones or abilities, or of the hopes we had in our heart of how things should be and how we should be—loss always causes mourning and some grief.
But here’s the thing: gratitude drives out regret. Thankfulness drives out fear. One of the things that most drew me to Elena when we were dating was her strength, what my father called her “grit.” And this much has not changed. I am thankful that she and I learned early on to focus on the joys of our life, to enjoy what we are still able to do, and not regret loss. She loves walking on the beach, but when she became wheelchair bound, that wasn’t possible. But I found a beach wheelchair online—one with big balloon tires, and we have used it several times since. It is an effort, but we do it as much as a spiritual practice as anything else: focus on the joys and do not regret loss.
U.S. Thanksgiving Day was inaugurated by President Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War. Even amid the turmoil and horror of war, Lincoln knew that thanks drives away fear and uncertainty.
I am so thankful for this wonderful community, Trinity Ashland. We try to take the Gospel seriously. We look out for each other. Our common life is a joy.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude in our daily life helps us get through the nasty bits. And remembering the “weight of glory” promised by Jesus helps too.
What are you thankful for? What are the things for which you are passionate, and which are fully in your reach right now?
Grace and peace,