An Attitude of Gratitude

SPIRITUAL WELLNESS – Connect with your spirit! Use ways that are meaningful to you:whether that’s through your place of worship, prayer, or meditation.

EMOTIONAL WELLNESS – Be mindful of how you feel! Engage in mindfulness activities such as yoga and tai chi; talk with your doctor or counselor if you’re feeling blue.

SOCIAL WELLNESS – Stay connected! Volunteer in the community, take classes, visit with friends, join online social networks.

One of the people who had the greatest impact on my life for the better was a woman 20 years older than me. Her name was Claudia. I say was because she succumbed to breast cancer many years ago. I miss her terribly. Her influence and words of wisdom had a rich and rewarding impact on my life as I was being refined by age.

No, she wasn’t my mother. Claudia and I were brought together through a common bond as so many friends, students and teachers are. I believe we could all benefit from having a mentor who is older than we are even when we’re adults. It would not be a role I would choose a parent to play due to the parent/child dynamics.

Claudia was an open-minded person who passed along only the best and most helpful tidbits of what she had learned in various areas. One of the things I remember her sharing with me was the Buddhist Proverb, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Well, I was ready, and there she was!

I would often turn to her for guidance and direction; especially during times of distress. I can still see the subtle, yet unmistakable smile that would cross over her face as she responded to my complaints or perceived misfortunes. I remember at first feeling confused concerning the smile that beamed from her face as I shared my pain. I remember thinking, “Why in the world is she smiling at my obvious pain?”

I was quick to recognize, however, that it was not a smile of smugness or superiority. It was a smile of true empathy and understanding. Then, as was her nature, the first thing she would counter with was, “Oh, Kathy, this is one of those times you must learn to say thank you! Thank you, for the opportunity to learn and grow!”

Those are powerful words, and an even more powerful mindset that I still use today when the trials of life arise. These words place me in the presence of God with thanksgiving, and that is more helpful than any pity party I can throw for myself. When I feel like I am surely to be overcome and drown in my sorrows, I remember her words to keep a positive outlook and an attitude of gratitude, regardless of (or in spite of) my circumstances. This outlook serves as a life raft that carries me safely through the tempest.

After hearing this reminder – to have a thankful heart – from my teacher, Claudia, time after agonizing time, I am now able to call upon my own resources and memories to remind me. I feel comforted knowing there is an option to being swallowed up in the swells of life.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

YouTube Video: Agnus Dei by Michael W. Smith

2 Comments

  1. Malia Fox

    Thank you, Kathy. That was beautiful. I definitely can relate and hope that I will be “thankful” in those times of trials. Helps with the “calm through the storm” scenario as well. Peace.

    • Thanks, Malia. Don’t forget to be thankful in the good times, too. It’s like we say around here at work, “Age is an attitude.” The influence one’s perspective can have on a situation is amazing. I hope you find a silver lining in every cloud. Kathy

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