Gratitude for all the circumstances that we live helps us find true peace and calm, both in happiness and in sadness.
“Have we no reason to be filled with gratitude, despite
the circumstances we find ourselves in?”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
As we think about the good days we have had throughout our lives, we tend to show appreciation for the blessings that strengthen us and make us feel good, for the moments covered with happiness, for the renewing beginnings full of adventure and emotion. We constantly thank God for the bright and warm mornings that fill us with joy. By nature, human beings are inclined to feel gratitude towards the good things that happen to us, because it is easier to be grateful for this, than for the problems, challenges and despair that engulf us, less frequently, but with more impact.
If we could determine how many good and bad experiences we have had throughout our lives, we would realize that most of us have been happy most of the time, regardless of the ordinary difficulties that often stand in the way. We have a body, health and family: three of the essential things that every man and woman must have to achieve true happiness. However, when we accidentally go back to the adverse and painful experiences that we have had to face, or when we find ourselves just at the height of a difficulty, we usually react with bitterness, anger and endless complaints. The death of a child, the kidnapping of a loved one, the poverty that suffocates us, the lack of love, unemployment and even the frustration because our dreams are not fulfilled, are the type of circumstances before which it would seem almost impossible to project an attitude filled with gratitude.
We are grateful for the challenges we face
Perhaps, we could ask ourselves, how can I thank God for the things that he has taken from me or of which he has deprived me? How can my gratitude heal the suffering that seems to exhaust me beyond measure? How do my challenging circumstances change, if I take an attitude of gratitude towards them? Next, let’s find out what are some of the reasons why being thankful lightens our load and helps us bring out the best in ourselves when all seems to be lost.
Thanking God for what we lack brings us closer to what we really need. Because we can seldom see the many and varied options of people and projects that surround us, when they unexpectedly disappear from our lives (or perhaps we never see them arrive), we tend to claim God, for not giving us or for taking away what we believe its better for us. But, understand that painful losses and long waits have no other reason for being, other than preparing and making way for that person or opportunity that we really need in our lives. Circumstances like this make us show gratitude for those sad experiences that have prepared us for something better. That is the importance of giving thanks for each point that marks an end and, at the same time, a new beginning in our existence.
Gratitude relieves bitterness and heals the suffering that emerges from hopelessness. On more than one occasion, we have all had to experience extremely painful and exhausting situations, which can lead us to lose hope. We can come to feel the roots of bitterness and suffering dig deep into our hearts, due to the exhaustion that every earthly trial or challenge brings. The bad mood, anger, indifference and melancholy, can become too frequent visitors in our person, if we are not careful to let the cure called “gratitude”, soothe our spirit and tired heart. If we find ourselves with a stern expression on our face all the time, if we do not enjoy seeing the family by our side, if we feel alone all the time, it is time to thank for the evidence we have and ask for the sweetness gratitude counteract the bitterness of adversity. Let gratitude become the life-giving water of our hope in difficult days.
Being grateful under any circumstance is a matter of attitude that can change everything. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who lived through the ravages of World War II as a child and had to live as a refugee for a long time, had this to say in a speech delivered in April 2014: “We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.” Being grateful in moments of joy and in moments of sadness is a choice that we always have within our reach, but that we can hardly ever see. Showing gratitude in circumstances surrounded by well-being makes us better people, who can be admired and respected. But showing appreciation in challenging circumstances transforms us into true masters of life, who deserve everything, who can do everything and above all, who can change everything with a simple smile. Perhaps the problems will not disappear, but we will be able to find the solution to them or the necessary strength to move on, until we find the end of them.
Let’s remember that we always have the freedom to choose gratitude as a role model that we can practice right now, regardless of whether there are smiles of joy or tears of regret in our hearts.