On Gratitude

What if you woke up with only what you thanked God for yesterday?

I ran across that quotation on pinterest.com and it has stuck with me forĀ  weeks. The heartlands and southeast have been devastated by an unprecedented amount of deadly tornadoes. Almost every day for the past two weeks I’ve waken up to updates on NPR about the rising death toll. Sometimes there are heart warming stories but not often enough.

When it comes to natural disasters, I tread a thin line between gratitude and anger. I thank God for sparing my family and I of something tragic; then I get angry because I wonder why everyone isn’t spared. I know I’m no better, no more righteous, than anyone else. I think of known criminals, know “bad people” who live out their lives in relative peace while others struggle to survive in war torn countries or at the mercy of the elements. The injustice of it is mind numbing.

But as I’ve learned, anger solves nothing. Being angry and confused at the seeming chaos that surrounds me doesn’t get anything done. Being angry on behalf of those who have lost so much won’t bring back what was taken.

Gratitude, however, puts my mind in a better place. I know how good peace feels so I will work to help restore others’ peace. I know how good support feels so I will work to help others feel supported. Sometimes I can only make a monetary contribution. Other times I’m able to get out and volunteer. At all times I understand that I’m living a blessed and full life and I want to share that with anyone who is willing to receive it.

It is easy to let some emotions have a place in our lives that simply aren’t productive. Blame my capitalist upbringing if you’d like but I don’t see the point in putting energy toward something that is as unproductive as anger. Action matters. Results matter. The why rarely matters as much as the so what now?.

Image by Rob North

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