Filling Your Day With Pure Praise And Gratitude

I woke up this morning with a deep feeling of foreboding, mixed with dread, peppered with anxiety, and topped off with a tad of mild depression.  It's a familiar feeling, that I've come to understand a bit more lately.  

My mind was racing through all of the things I have to get done today, all the things I haven't started that need doing, the tasks that lay before me, meetings I'd scheduled and needed to attend.  

I wanted desperately to be energized by this---to bound out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and get moving.  

But that familiar feeling was owning the moment.  Then I started thinking about all of the uncertainty of the world around me---COVID cases rising, the never-ending election foolishness, and about a hundred existential crises that loomed in my mind as a result of all of it. 

I thought about what it would be like if I just stayed in bed all day.  

In the end, I got up (without bounding out of bed, though).  I trudged slowly to the coffee maker, sighed about a hundred times, and sat down in front of my computer to look at my schedule, check my email, and then set about writing this. 

And the darkness retreated... just a bit, but enough to remind me that it can't win if I don't let it.  

I know that I can't speak to every other person feeling similarly, but for me, it's all about choices.  I can choose to keep focusing on the negative, dwelling on the dark feelings... or I can do something else.  

I read this amazing line from Fr. Richard Rohr not too long ago, and it fits so perfectly with what so many of us struggle with during this age of uncertainty: 

For some sad reason, the thoughts that seduce or attract you are mostly the negative ones, and neuroscience now can prove this.  If something isn’t as it should be, your little problem-solving mind takes off.  If there’s someone to blame or negate, you go there.  Pure praise and gratitude emerge much less frequently, and they are much harder to sustain over time.  You hate and fear for days and weeks, and you are thankful for minutes. 

As I sit here, I am reminded of a hundred things that I am grateful for.  I am remembering conversations that I had yesterday that were life-giving and full of blessings.  I'm thinking of what I did right.  I'm recalling the beauty of the day. 

My gratitude list is so much longer than the list of things that I let steal my joy, and paralyze me with dread.  Like many of us, I often tend to give headspace and power to the negative things, and they grow, and grow unfettered and unchecked. 

So today, I'm going to do whatever it takes to find moments where I can simply offer what Fr. Richard calls "pure praise and gratitude."  I want to be thankful for longer than a few minutes.  I want to give the darkness short shrift today.  It deserves it.  It doesn't deserve my best.  My best needs to be reserved for what's good, beautiful, and true. 

May you enumerate your blessings and joys today, and lift them up higher than any dark feelings or worries that you might be holding on to... May you spend your day in praise and gratitude.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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