I am Thankful for…

  • Life, in all its varied mysteries and forms. That each of us has a time to live.
  • Beauty, in the natural world that touches all our senses. In human relationships. In art and music. And in mathematics.
  • Reconciliation, because it enables new lives to go forward.
  • Clarity as it supports our ability for and comfort with making choices, right or wrong, good or bad, this or that…
  • Reason. Because without it, we would all be crazy.
  • Relationships that give meaning and beauty and a sense of belonging as well as those that are perplexing.
  • The sacred, the set apart, the holy that remind us something bigger than us is behind it all.
  • All the various calls and vocations in life, as a father, husband, scientist, priest, friend, and writer.
  • This parish community in all its ups and downs, happiness, and sorrow, it moves forward in hope.
  • The Creator, the Divine, God, or whatever you call it, who creates the world in which we live, and move, and have our being, who
gives us a beautiful opportunity to live.
  • Most of all, I am thankful for you. All of you.
What are you thankful for?
Who are you thankful for?
Not only is gratitude a good thing to do, but it also improves your mental and spiritual health right away. A study of college students at the University of California, Berkeley, seeking mental services showed that the group instructed to write one letter of gratitude or thanks to a different person once a week scored significantly better than those who did not after only twelve weeks.
Not just any letter of gratitude will do, however. Your letters need to avoid negative emotions. In doing so, your weekly discipline will help you get rid of toxic emotions. Your letters should use “I” and “me” instead of “we” and “us.” Toxic emotions to avoid would include things like bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, retaliation, anger, hatred, guilt, shame, sorrow, regret, jealousy, helplessness, depression, apathy, loneliness, fear, rejection. The classic positive emotions you should consider include: Love, Serenity, Forgiveness, Awe, Joy, Interest, Hope, Pride, Amusement, Inspiration. Write one letter to someone different every week for twelve weeks, and you will reprogram your brain and your soul.
What do you have to lose? Get out your pen and paper and envelopes and stamps. You can decide later whether you want to mail any given letter, but just write the letter. It will do you good.

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