Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Gratitude Journal

When I was young, gratitude journals used to intimidate me. I thought the only things worthy of being listed were the really big important things - like my health and my family. To list trivial things was to equate them with the big things, and that somehow seemed ungrateful - or so I thought. But listing the same big important things every day got to be boring, so I never kept a gratitude journal for very long.

I'm happy to say that I've acquired a little bit of sense as I've grown older. I've learned not to eschew the small things. G. K. Chesterton said he was grateful for "stars and street faces and wine and the great sea." I decided if Chesterton could be grateful for wine and the faces of strangers on the street, I could learn to appreciate the small things in my daily round.

Now I list in my gratitude journal all the little things that make me glad in a day's time. I'm finding that taking note of what delights me or satisfies me or gives me a sense of accomplishment is an excellent way to get to know myself better. Lately, I've been grateful for sunshine, crisp apples, and Bailey's Irish Cream. Sometimes I'm surprised at what delights me - a fresh clean dish towel or the act of lighting a candle or looking out the window by my desk as the evening fades into night.

Robert Louis Stevenson said, "To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive." I think he's right.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

Yep, I think we all are grateful for many things in life, but most of us often overlook the smaller things that when we no longer have them, we realize how much they meant to us.