There’s a book I want to read … probably more like need to read. It’s called “The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible” by A.J. Jacobs. I have seen it around, and thought to myself “Hey look at that – it’s another atheist trying to belittle someone just to justify a superiority complex” (see all Bill Maher). Not that I am a zealot or bible thumper on my own, but I come from the stock of thinking that what you believe in is what you believe in – who am I or anyone else to judge. Yet last night I heard an interview with the author that goes into more detail of what led him to write it, and what he got from the experience. While he touched on some of the more odd parts of the book (like when he got to stone an adulterer) he was able to explain key parts of the process that were fundamentally good for all of us.
One thing he mentioned was the biblical requirement to ‘Be Thankful’. The way he described it, the literally interpretation he took with that was to be thankful for everything. By everything, he mentioned, that meant everything. Say for instance you walk into a tall building – when you press the elevator button, you are thankful for the light to turn on to tell you the elevator is on the way. Then the door opens, you are thankful for that. Push the floor button, once again, thankful for the light to come on. Thankful for arriving on your floor. Thankful for making it to you meeting. Thankful you have a bottle of water handed to you.
What this author said was the experience made him more thankful — which is like … DUH … but there is a point here. It’s easy to get wrapped up on the things we hate, the things that bother us. Yet what he was saying is that being thankful for everything made him recognize the good that comes from everything, and recognition is the first step to appreciation. And Appreciation is an early step towards love.
The whole of the concept reminded me of the 100 Happy Days effort I made last year around this time, and made me wonder if I wanted to take a wack at it. That was something thru Facebook where everyday I took a photo or wrote about something that made me happy that day. While I wouldn’t mind doing that process a second time – I have this fear that came out of last year (where those ‘100 happy days’ were a run of very very unhappy days like I had never seen in my life) that I could be seeing bad times ahead.
What I just want is to recognize what I need to be thankful for. I want to see the world through the eyes of someone with a more positive outlook. I want Thankfulness to be a core thing of what I do, not the one that sees the potential black poison awaiting me at every step.
Things need to start changing in my life for me to me to be happier, but there are a lot of things that I can’t change. The thing is, I want to be happy about those things. When I see something — I want to be thankful for it, recognize it for what it means, appreciate what it was … and Love what it is.
And it all starts with Thanks.
2 thoughts on “Thankfulness”
Just wanted to come out of lurk-mode to say that I really resonate with this right now. Honestly, anyone from the outside looking in would wonder why the crap I need to focus on happiness and thankfulness, with all the non-sucky things I’ve got going for me. But I think maybe it’s part of who we are, individually. Some people are inherently happy (and I frequently want to strangle them). Some people — often those who are skeptics — struggle with happiness. Some days are better than others. But thankfulness, I’ve found, is a good start toward happiness. So is making others happy.
I’m thankful that you blog. 🙂
I read a book like that, it was called 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. While it may look like a chic book from the cover, her point is exactly what you’re talking about. Noticing and writing down each of the gifts in our life, all the small and big things. I thought it was a really good perspective to have, to really begin to see and ask God to help us see, all the little things that he gives us and we barely take notice of! Her writing style is very stream of consciousness, so that makes it a bit tough to get into the book. But well worth it! God truly does bless us with each breath and each step we’re able to take!