Gratitude Make the Silver Lining Visible
A gratitude practice is one of my all time favorites. It’s part of me, like my blood and my mitochondria and my DNA are part of me. From an early age, I’d say the cradle, gratitude has been an everyday event.
In my mind, I hold a few precious, radiant treasures of recorded events with my family. I remember, in the soft, warm glow of nostalgia, family prayer at my Grandma and Grandpa Dahl’s ranch house in Northern Nevada. At the end of the day, my Grandpa would call us all into the living room to kneel together in gratitude. All the cousins would go gather with their moms and dads, my sisters and I would cluster around the knees of our mom and dad. My grandma would kneel side-by-side with the Patriarch, Harvey Dahl.
Reverence was required. A hushed softness would descend over our bowed heads and closed eyes. Then my grandpa’s voice would ring out, clear and strong, soothing and secure. In the safety of that circle, nothing could ever go wrong, life was good and blessed and promising.
Grandpa would offer thanks for the ordinary gifts of life: good health and strength; plenty to eat; a warm and safe home; happy, loving, and supportive family relationships and good neighbors. He expressed thanks for all of us that we lived in a free country with good leaders to guide and direct us in righteousness. Gratitude was expressed for the kindness in our hearts to be sweet and loving to those around us, and for those who were kind to us and those who reached out to their neighbors in need.
I was a young girl and lots of this didn’t hold real meaning for me until I reached an age where I realized how kind others had been to me in my life. When things got dark and stormy after high school when I went away to college, and when things were a little tenuous when I lived 3000 miles away from all my family, I was never left alone to weather those storms without support of some kind and gentle friend. Then I understood what my wise Grandpa meant when he offered gratitude to those who are kind to others.
They, those kind friends, helped me know that the troubles would pass, that things would get better, that the sun was shining somewhere and that it would soon shine on me again. Because of them, I found hope. And I was grateful.
Now, my gratitude practice of calling to mind all that I enjoy in this life, even in the tough times, shines a little light down from above allowing me to deepen my optimistic outlook, to step out of my way to be kind and gentle with others, and mostly to know that gratitude makes the silver lining visible.