reflections on gratitude

Reflecting on Gratitude

I have been thinking about gratitude a great deal this week, one of Unity Lincoln’s core values.  In case you don’t know this by heart yet, we say “We recognize, rejoice in, and give thanks for all of God’s gifts.” As I reflect, these are the things that come to mind for me today:

I am grateful my children and granddaughter are no longer living in Aurora, Colorado. They frequented the Cinema complex that was the site of the horrific murders last week.

I am grateful my gay son has not been the target of a hate crime since the late nineties, and that he works for a company that has an HR diversity policy inclusive of sexual orientation.

I am grateful that the economy did not impact our family any worse than it did, and Karl and I are able to live our retirement with all our basic needs being met, and fulfill some of our dreams.

I am grateful for friends who are always there when I need them, and grateful I am able to be there for them when they need me.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given, and my ability to recognize them as they arise.

Here’s the catch, though. To borrow a phrase from Jack Canfield, here is what worries me… is it possible we could be falling into a dangerous trap that keeps us from being successful in moving our culture forward? Is it possible….

That we are settling for less than we deserve in the name of gratitude.

Rather than taking action and actively educating the people in our communities about the issues facing the gay community (LGBT), and working to create equality in all areas of life, we say “I’m grateful it doesn’t impact my family.”

Rather than taking action and working to educate the people in our communities about the effects of hate and bullying behavior, so we might have an impact on that behavior, we say “I’m grateful I have learned the power of affirmative prayer, and this type of behavior is not the norm in my community.”

Rather than taking action to do something about the impasse our elected officials seem to enjoy creating in relation to our economic and health needs as we enter another frantic presidential and congressional election, we say “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

As I reflect, I must remind myself that wanting more does not mean that I’m ungrateful. It means that I recognize that I must take action in order to move forward. Most people are too frightened of what others will think of them to go after their dreams. It is my fervent desire to not be one of them.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  – John F. Kennedy

It is my dream that we live in a highly diverse community, where everyone has the same rights and responsibilities, and our society recognizes that the spirit of God resides in each person. Therefore, we are all one. I want all my children to be given equal opportunities, and the right to marry the person they love, and raise children.

Because we create our life experiences through our way of thinking, I want to live in an environment where everyone is encouraged to live in to their potential, recognizing and celebrating their inherent worth and dignity. I want our young people to be given all the support they need as they grow so that they might develop healthy thoughts, and respect for themselves and their peers.

If these are my wants, I must reflect on the action I am willing to take in order to do my part to move my community forward. And for that, I am grateful to be part of Unity because I understand that knowledge of Unity principles is not enough, we must live them. We must take action to live our core values, and our principles. Only we have the power to create the life we want, and it will be as big as we are willing to make it. We have a choice: to be grateful for what we have without acknowledging what we want or to be grateful for all we have been given and taking action to create the world we want to live in.

Please join me in prayer for those who lost their lives and for those who were terrorized over the last few weeks. We know that God is with us everywhere, and pray that we might see our next right step as God In Action. We pray for joy, kindness, love, generosity, and an inclusive spirit. Amen