A few years back, maybe when my oldest daughter was in first grade, she made a gratitude candle at school. It is some type of curriculum thing because we now have two. It is fairly basic, a candle with some field peas glued together to make the base. To be honest, it is not aesthetically pleasing, and I like to eat field peas so I sometimes find it to be a little extravagant.
Anyways, while I don't remember the original purpose, it somehow evolved into a tradition in our house to light the candle each evening of November before dinner. We light the candle, turn off the lights, and each of us goes around says something we are thankful for. We conclude with the saying of grace and we eat. I mean, how old fashion is that!
It seems so hokey because, the notion of gratitude is fast becoming a lost discipline. And here's the thing. Sometimes, and I hate to admit this, but some nights, I don't feel particularly in the mood. By supper time, I am tired, or distracted, or feeling rushed, or mostly likely just hungry, and I just want to get it over with. I want to get on with it and this exercise of gratefulness becomes something in the way. This is a problem.
Somehow we allowed the modern narratives to get away from us. To falsely define us.
We created engines of envy and called them social spaces.
We equated "news" with outrage and the most horrible of human deeds.
We unquestionably accepted the blame if we got sick because we ate red meat and didn't exercise 20 hours a week.
We accept false guilt about being a bad parents because we chose not to mortgage ourselves into oblivion in search of "good schools."
We accept responsibility to try and act on things we can't control such inflation, or market cycles, or interest rates.
We assume we are divided.
We really believe we don't have time.
This happens when we are tired, distracted, and rushed. We need a time out. A time to stop. and reclaim the real truth of our lives. Our true humanity can be rediscovered in living out our thanks. If that means, you wait on your dinner to think about something you are grateful for, or if you need to have a day off to reflect, so be it, but whatever it is, let's be intentional. Intentionally grateful!