As odd as it may seem, gratitude is a word we take for granted.  My opinion of mankind is we all have a general understanding of this word; however, the execution may be lacking.  For the sake of argument, let’s define gratitude.  Webster’s definition is, “the state of being grateful; thankfulness.” 

Saying thank you is something we teach our children early.  As parents, we want our kids to understand nothing in their lives comes without a cost and anything given to us out of such sacrifice needs to be appreciated.  For example, even a simple request for a glass of milk is not provided without sacrifice.  God made the cows that produce the milk and a farmer somewhere milked that cow very early in the morning.  The milk was then processed and pasteurized at a dairy, bottled, shipped, and distributed to a retailer.  Those cartons of milk were then unloaded off the truck and put in the refrigerators of the local market.  Grocery workers monitored the expiration dates of each carton and scanned them in the check-out lines.  Parents purchased the milk for their kiddos and drove it home to their own refrigerators.  Each household budget made provision for that gallon of milk based on the jobs represented in each family.  Obviously, I have left out many steps and this is a very elementary example of sacrifice and gratitude, but you get the point.  When a child asks for a glass of milk and it magically appears, what happens behind the scenes needs to be appreciated. 

The best way to achieve true gratitude for all things in life is to go back to our original definition.  Being grateful is not an event in time, it is a “state of being.”  This suggests to me that gratitude is a place we can actually live.  Rather than looking at situations and circumstances in life as individual events, we can and should, really take up residence there in gratitude.  Instead of being grateful for something or someone, we can abide in gratitude. 

Our own lives can become an expression of gratitude when we look beyond ourselves and our own needs and realize there is nothing that comes to us without coming first to the Father.  He is the one who makes all things possible.  When we embrace “the state of being grateful,” every act, no matter how small, is acknowledged and truly appreciated.  Suddenly, our world is open to new revelations!  We become aware of each breath and each beat of our hearts in a new way.  Our eyes joyfully view the sunrise differently.  The sound of the crunchy fall leaves beneath our feet triggers satisfaction and contentment.  Being grateful is having our whole being emersed in gratitude. Gratitude should be our state of being rather than a character attribute.

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