The “honour killings” of four women (the youngest 13 years old) in 2009 was what began a conversation about gratitude with a girlfriend of mine last night. The reality that we, with all the dysfunction that is family life, never had to worry about our safety at home. Our sadness at their fate gave us a renewed appreciation for our own lives.
Throughout the evening, we were reminded again about the power of gratitude when another friend of ours shared with us how gratitude is what uplifts her when she feels most anxious about the future of her family with the challenges they are currently facing.
Shortly after Stefanie died and I felt abandoned by God my mother told me that the only thing I could do was to thank Him for all that I still had – to show gratitude. I can’t even find the words to describe how angry that made me. I felt utterly betrayed and disgusted – I HATED God and everything to do with my faith. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I had things to be grateful for because I would have traded it all just to have her back.
It wasn’t until I realized that I could have lost Ian too that the concept of gratitude began to sink in.
In my search for anything and everything that might have brought me some peace, I came upon the suggestion of a gratitude journal. I decided to give it a go.
Every evening I wrote in this journal. At first the entries were forced, but as time marched on they became more sincere and reflective.
My first entry was: I’m grateful for crossing Yonge St. and not getting stuck in traffic.
I admit, not awe inspiring, but on that day, that’s the best I could come up with.
A few months later I wrote: I’m grateful for being able to watch Ian attempt to cut the lawn with the push mower – him laughing at his own incompetence ,his playfulness, his beautiful smile and his eventual gratefulness for the old gas lawnmower.
Gratitude is that which when life seems bleakest reminds us of our blessings. It shifts our focus from hopeless to hopeful and stands us on more solid ground.
I am grateful for being Canadian, for freedom and peace, for the honour of raising my family in this beautiful country, for my husband and family, for friends and neighbours, and all the little pleasures we take for granted each day.