Big, small, many or few…what does counting your blessings mean to you?
Normally we consider blessings only those items or circumstances which enrich our life in turn creating happiness, comfort or good fortune. Thus, when we count our blessings it’s these we consider. However, I’ve always considered offering gratitude a blessing. When we are truly grateful for everything in our lives it means we’ve learned from past mistakes, appreciate present moments and welcome the future with an open mind and gracious heart.
Think of a grateful heart as a river continually flowing and swelling in its banks. Each added drop of water, carried downstream from far away rain on a mountain top, or as near as dew falling off an overhanging leaf, offers the river renewed hope, strength and faith to continue to flow.
Our hearts are as the river. Our lives are the mountains and valleys through which the river flows. Our blessings, which come during the calm of our lives and the storms, are all the countless droplets of water overflowing our hearts, each and every one a reason to be grateful.
Because when the storms of life come, and they will…some so devastating we’re certain we cannot bear it, those are the storms that transform the course of our lives forever. Like the waters of a strong mountain thunderstorm cascading downstream altering the course of a river. It’s during the most difficult times we need to realize our heart is continually filling with blessings, which, with time, weather all of life’s storms. Because without struggles, we would not discover our strengths…a grateful heart being our most divine strength.
Usually, however, we simply enjoy the rhythm of the soft, steady shower of daily blessings to which we should always express a grateful heart. Saying ‘thank you’ to the cashier who has been on their feet since 5 am and receiving a warm smile in return. Pausing to reflect on random acts of kindness by a passing stranger…a small child’s smile after hearing sad news…holding a door open for an elderly person walking painfully slow and feel our heart swell with gratitude for the opportunity. All reasons for a grateful heart, indeed.
Sadly though, there are times when we feel abandoned by life, forgotten by family and friends, confused by our circumstances and tremendously lonely. Friends, for whom I am so very grateful, it’s during these times dew gathers on the leaves overhanging our heart and silently increases our river of blessings. It’s true, even during times when we feel the most lack we receive bountiful blessings and a grateful heart continues to flow.
A grateful heart turns a house into a home, a meager meal into a feast, a stranger’s smile into a friendship. A grateful heart hears the song of promise whispered in the wind. A grateful heart leaps with joy at each new day. A grateful heart seizes clarity from the clutches of confusion. A grateful heart accepts responsibility and banishes blame. A grateful heart welcomes its blessings one droplet at a time and flows with renewed hope, faith and strength. A grateful heart is truly life’s most treasured blessing.
Can you imagine…blessings as numerous as falling rain?
Writer’s note: After conducting a study on gratitude Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor at the University of California, said the following: “But while the emotion (gratitude) seemed simplistic even to me as I began my research, I soon discovered that gratitude is a deeper, more complex phenomenon that plays a critical role in human happiness. Gratitude is literally one of the few things that can measurably change people’s lives.
Smile, you are blessed.