Gratitude, the Source of Happiness

I recently had the pleasure of spending time with one of my grandsons which often brings new insights into who I am and how I think.  We had worked on a carpentry project together which included going to the local hardware store, cutting the wood and beginning the assembly process.  I made sure that he was actively involved in each step.  We had some good conversations and interactions.  At the end of the day I asked him what was the best part of the day and he said that I had given him a piece of gum at the store.  'Really' I thought, that was the best part of the day?  As we discovered later he had told his Mom that he got to build a project with Papa which was encouraging.  As I thought more about his response I realized that I look at life the same way as he does.  God does some amazing things in my life and I focus on the little and pretty insignificant things.  

John Piper, in 'Desiring God' says "We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise.  If we were not allowed to speak of what we value and celebrate what we love and praise what we admire, our joy would not be full."  That resonated with me on multiple levels.  1) I'm not always aware of the beautiful things that God is doing around me, 2) when I AM aware I don't ponder or reflect on them enough, and 3) if I don't share the praise with someone the joy is often hollow and incomplete.  Piper is certainly striking a chord within me.  I need to be much more intentional about my own gratitude.  It results in more joy and happiness when I am focusing on the great gifts that God is setting before me. 

A friend recently shared that she has started a 'gratitude journal', each day writing down what she was grateful for.  Last night I was using a guide for my examen and one of the first steps was to write down all the things I am grateful for today.  I actually came up with 10-12 things that I hadn't thought much about.  What a great way to praise God for His work in my life?  This sounds like a pretty good practice to add to my daily regula, an examen of gratitude.


John Hilliard