It’s gratitude season. I posted something on Facebook recently. It read something like:
Choosing gratitude for all the abundance in my life.
The post prompted an expected number “like” responses. And then, one comment from a good friend of mine which read:
Gratitude is a beautiful thing. It seems to me it is easy to choose gratitude when one feels they have abundance. The bigger question is: what does one interpret as “abundance”? That definition flows to all of the rest. So when one is in a financial struggle, facing creditors and defaults, can one still see the abundance? Can we see abundance in our access to clean water, food, and shelter? Or do we compare our position to those around us and wallow in misery? Let’s face it, on the world stage, most of us are the 1%. That is the great challenge and one that can only truly be tested in the toughest times.
His comment gave me pause. Am I really grateful for my basic needs being met? What is abundance, after all? Was I grateful for the abundance in my life even when I had enormous difficulty paying the mortgage? When the going was tough, did I notice that I was still provided for?
I vividly remember times during the last several years when I had creditors chasing me, after making poor financial choices. Though I am aware that if you look around you will always find someone worse off than you, the emotional pain of financial worry was crushing and all consuming. The question remains, was I grateful?
I’ve learned (over and over again) that all the great lessons to be learned exist inside the crappiest moments of my life. When it hurts, when it feels hopeless, when I’m certain there is no possible good outcome, the last thing I naturally focus on is “What am I learning?” Often it’s after you’ve moved through it that the true lessons and gifts emerge. And eventually, they always do.
Here was my comment back to my friend:
I’m happy you elaborated on this point. The word “abundance” is perhaps overused. For me, I’m blessed in so many areas – not the least of which is clean and available drinking water. I am grateful for my mental, physical, and emotional health. I’m blessed by my relationships with others which sustain and feed my spirit. I don’t limit my definition of abundance to financial wealth. I am in love with my life in spite of the challenges and bumps in the road, and have actually come to love those just as much for the richness they provide. I think there is a false sense that financial abundances cures everything – that more is better – and it simply isn’t the truth for me. I choose an attitude of gratitude and not just because it sounds good but because it keeps me humble.
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