I used to keep a gratitude journal on a nightly basis. I could always see, when looking back through the pages, when I had had a good day and been in a calm, spiritual place… and when it had been a bad day and I was withdrawn and dismissive.
On the good days, my gratitude list would include things like: my healthy children, my Higher Power, my home, my job, my intelligence, and my strength.
On a bad day, my list would say: pizza, this bed, being left alone.
I used to thumb through the pages and see how many days I had been truly grateful and how many days I had gone without gratitude.
I had to laugh at the days when all I could list was a piece of pizza but, at least it was something.
When I began to go through a really trying time during my divorce, I stopped keeping my gratitude journal.
I neglected my daily practice and I became more and more obsessed with my husband and what he was doing.
I was sure that his “new” life was so much better than mine… that he had everything that he had ever dreamed of and I had nothing.
I could not believe my lack of gratitude.
My sister reminded me one day that my situation could have been so much worse.
I snapped back, “Oh I see, life gives me lemons so I should make lemonade right?”
She paused a moment and then said, “No, that isn’t what I am saying. I am saying that you are a young, beautiful, talented woman. A woman who has an education and a job. A woman who has two beautiful children who love her and want to be with her. A woman who has a home, a car, and food on the table. A woman who has friends and family to support her in this troubled time. I’m just reminding you, that many people who walk through divorce, do not have these things. They lose their homes. They lose their children. They have no job, no education, no friends or family to help them through. You have a lot to be grateful for today.”
She was right.
I was so busy worrying about what my husband might have that I could not even see what I did have.
That night, I began to keep my gratitude journal again. It is a daily reminder of how much I have to be grateful for and it keeps me from losing sight of the miracles in my day-to-day life.
“Dear God, help me to keep an “attitude of gratitude.” When I feel that I have nothing to be grateful for, help me to take an inventory of my life and find the good in all that I do have.”