Grace and peace be with you all!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5: 16-18)
Winter has been hard thus far, and it can be just as much a mental challenge as a physical one to try to get through the cold months.I know from experience that when we’re feeling grumpy about things, like the weather, we tend to let the grump overwhelm our whole life, and well, that’s just a gloomy way to live.
David Steindl-Rast is a Benedictine monk who is the leading teacher in the practices of gratitude. It’s not hard to practice gratitude. Brother David reminds us of “the three instructions we were given as children when approaching a street corner, he tells us to “Stop, look, and go.” Stop – slow down, take a break, pause long enough to take a breath. Look – notice and pay attention to just how many things are given to us freely and without expectation (for such is the heart of gratitude). Go – move back into your life and the world animated by this sense of undeserved privilege and gratitude.
”For example: today I am overwhelmed by all the items on my to-do list, including annual reports, getting the Call out, writing a sermon and putting together the worship, planning for the confirmation class, wondering if I’ve missed anyone that needs to be contacted, etc. You all understand the stress of a long to-do list. However, today I will stop and take a breath. I will look, out my window and notice that the sun is shining brilliantly; the squirrel is jumping from tree to tree; notice that I’m warm here in my office. I will go back to my work with a renewed sense of wonder and inspiration, and finally give thanks to God for all the things that I take for granted.
It certainly does take some intentional thinking to remember to stop, look and go, but it is unquestionably worthwhile.
Pastor Nadine Nicholds
Augsburg Lutheran Church,Brampton, Ontario