I gained some wisdom from two gentlemen I have never met before about gratitude and I want to share it with you.
Recently, I downloaded a free eBook from Michael Hyatt’s website called Best Year Ever – 8 Strategies High Achievers Use. (It’s still available to everyone. I highly recommend getting it.) In it, Ray Edwards said he starts preparing for the coming of a new year with “a gratitude flood.”
Flood is a familiar term these days. We recently had one in our basement.
The word ‘flood’ means a trash bin in our driveway. Throwing out a heap of good stuff that we were using and a bigger heap that we weren’t. It means paperwork for the insurance company and noisy, industrial fans prepping the area for renovation.
What ‘flood’ also means is water pouring into every corner and through every crack, leaving nothing untouched. Water flowing into a tiny hole and turning it into a gaping chasm in moments.
These pictures all came to mind when I read Mr. Edwards’ words.
An interesting thing happened when I added the gratitude part to my image of a flood. Gratitude and floods both have immense power. Together, they can be life changing.
During a moment of reflection, I toyed with the idea of flooding myself with gratitude for things from the past year. I could feel that no crack of my heart was immune. Like water, gratitude can seep into an opening of any size and soak it to the core.
It was impossible to keep it out of even the minutest crack in the stubborn, resentful or unforgiving places of my heart.
And, believe me, I have some.
Circumstances, from this year, have been more wrong than any in my life. There have been challenges that have ripped big holes in our family’s peace and in my sense of self – and they aren’t over yet. Even in these, the flood squeezed through and opened up a hole big enough for gratitude to pour in.
It made space for me to be grateful that incredible challenge has caused me to learn to trust God more, to let go of the illusion of control and to know that, despite awful circumstances, I can still be joyful and love my family.
These are great things.
In the past, when I would contemplate the things I had to be grateful about, I would call up all the lovely events, the joyful moments and the challenges successfully overcome to focus on. Now, when I let a flood wash over me, I can see that I was missing a lot.
Noticing and being grateful for those bright spots, fighting to shine in the darkness, makes me feel like I can overcome what seems insurmountable.
I have discovered this: Gratitude for obvious blessings is great. Letting a flood of it uncover blessings hidden inside challenges is better. That leaves me with infinitely more things to be grateful for, including two gentlemen I don’t even know.
Thank you, both.