If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. Meister Eckhart
Gratitude is an Act of Grace – The Gratitude Series – Part 3
Gratitude is an act of grace
In Part One I wrote about my Sunday School teacher who taught about gratitude as if it's something we owe God: “You better be grateful!” he would say with a pointed finger and bulging eyes. Some people try and extract gratitude through manipulation as some sort of power trip.
Gratitude is not something we owe God/life/others/ourselves. Gratitude is a way of being. We are invited to be grateful. You cannot be forced into it, that negates its whole essence.
But you can accept the invitation.
I’ve always had the hardest time admitting that I need help, and accepting help when it comes. I tried to make it on my own for the longest time. I thought that everyone else did and could, and the fact that I wasn’t coming close to even smelling like I’d “made it” (whatever that means), meant that I was sub-par.
But it's been my joy to discover that we do life in community with each other. That’s how things get done. That’s how life is made. It’s never singular, always plural. We. Us. Together.
We can live in such a way that keeps tabs on everything that’s given and received and make sure it all adds up. OR you can live in the grace of the gift of life. Gratitude is an act of grace in the giving and receiving of it because it recognizes the gift and receives it as such.
In her book Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert said:
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
Gratitude leads to humility. It’s a pride slayer. Not so that we grovel and “payback” what we owe God in prayers and pretty words.
No. Gratitude is an act of grace. And how better to thank someone than to live wholeheartedly into the gift that was given?
I’ve learned to say thank you. To look my friends, family, and strangers in the eye and say the words. No excuses. No stories. No promises of payback. Just gratitude. Grace.
Meister Eckhart once said:
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
Make your whole life the prayer.