Thursday, December 05, 2013


More about gratitude from my email box (via SoundBytes):
Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly.   -- Henri Nouwen
The nasty, terrible truth is that sometimes complaint, bitterness and ugly thoughts seem to be more comforting that gratitude.  Don't misread that -- I don't mean that they ARE more comforting.  I just think that sometimes we don't want to let go of the hurt and the anger -- we want to wallow in it.  We can't have it both ways.  It seems impossible to me to be grateful while at the same time, bitter.

So, is gratitude a choice?  Can we choose to let go of the resentment and take hold of gratitude? When we are criticized, can we let go of the hurt of that and be grateful for the existence of the criticism?  I don't know if I can.  Can we be grateful for someone when all we see in them in mistakes and a poor attitude?  Can we see beauty in something when all we see is its ugliness.

There is a twist in those questions.  I'm not asking if we can see something ugly and look beyond the ugliness to the beauty that lies within.  I'm asking if we can be grateful for the ugliness.  Can we be grateful to have been criticized?  Can we give thanksgiving for the pain of rejection?

Nouwen says it is a choice.  Is it one we can make?  If we do, what is the result?  In our gratitude, does God transform the ugly, the critical, the pain into something else?

Rambling thoughts today without much cohesion.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

amatedzCaptain Kirk said, "I need my anger." Sometimes it is the only thing that can get one through certain pains and hurts. One can be grateful and still be angry.

8:43 PM  

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