“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.
It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
—Author Melody Beattie
I was at an AA meeting yesterday when a man with 22 years of sobriety said he was sick of talking about the Thanksgiving holiday. The topic was gratitude. There were half a dozen newcomers in the room.
He wasn’t homeless. He had a dinner invitation for Thanksgiving Day. I was just dumbfounded.
The clubhouse where the meeting was held was offering marathon meetings and a Thanksgiving feast for all comers.
It’s not my place to sit in judgment of what people share in meetings, but I can sure wonder about their message.
A long time ago, my sponsor spoke from the podium about gratitude. Once upon a time, she said, a miracle worker healed ten lepers. He told them to run and show themselves to the priests to confirm that they were disease-free. It was a bad disease to have; it made you an outcast and a beggar.
Sure enough, the priest confirmed the lepers were no longer lepers, Of the ten who were healed, only one came back to tell the miracle worker thank you. The miracle worker heaped a double blessing on that leper, who was overjoyed by his freedom.
Her point was that we sit in rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, having been saved from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. Do we practice gratitude for our freedom? Do we remember to go the source of our healing and say thank you?
Do we remember, as we compile years of sobriety, to be grateful for those years? Do we leave the newcomer alone, thinking someone else will nab him or her and offer encouragement? Do we remember every day is a gift contingent on our relationship with our Creator, and we must freely give what we have so freely been given?
Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools in our spiritual tool bag. Do we get caught up in our opinions and our plans, and forget that we are in this lifeboat together, with all the joy of a drowning man who has been saved?
My gratitude list today is short.
God save me from taking my sobriety for granted. Thank you for this day, even if my expectations of it are not met, even if I feel sad for the loss of family members missing from the table.
Thank you that I’m sober and building a feast for a few to share, and that we have all we need today.
Thank you that I have a cold and it makes me really appreciate my good health.
Thank you for what you have given me, thank you for what you have taken away from me, and thank you for what you have left for me. It all makes me grow stronger in my faith.
May you all have a blessed day.
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