So we are about three quarters of the way through our commitment of listing 10 things a day that we are grateful for (with no repeats). This practice forces us to put gratitude in the forefront of everything we do and it has been a heart opening experience.
When the Advisory Board arrived this week for our meeting, we created a gratitude list for the day. I happen to know a lot of the things that are going on for the women gathered here. And so for me the list makes sense and I understand why certain people are grateful for certain things. Looking at the list it reminded me of how, when we don’t know somebody’s story, it’s so easy to judge. And how often I catch myself in judgment, like, all day long, catching myself in judgment type of judgment. So I wondered when we post lists like this to the public,
are we even judging each other’s gratitude lists???
Judgment is quick and its powerful. It comes on fast and unconsciously. And before I started paying attention to it in my own mind, judgment seemed reasonable and normal. Now I see it as a trap my mind uses to keep me stuck and disconnected from God. So I have trained myself to catch judgment and shift it into something more productive, like gratitude. When I am in judgment of someone or something (again… it can be everyday all day) I am just staying stuck in my own hell and not seeing clearly.
So when I catch myself in judgment I immediately start praying for a higher understanding to help me get un-stuck. Today I felt protective when Beka wanted to post the gratitude list my advisory board put together, cringing at the possibility of someone reading the list and judging its contents. When it was my dear friend’s turn to add to the list she said “My chocolate milk Megan brought me”.
As I added it to the list I wondered if people’s fast and unconscious judgment would kick in and say “Why in the world would someone be grateful for a glass of chocolate milk? What is up with these Heartworkers? Don’t they have bigger things to be grateful for???” so I am here to expose the hidden power of small gestures like a glass of chocolate milk. My friend is going through enough daily uncertainty and challenges with her health to know to be grateful for simple things like a chocolate milk brought to her by someone who loves her. I don’t know what the glass of chocolate milk did for her, but I know what it did for me as I was pouring it this morning… gratitude.
Thank you that my friend feels good enough to come to the meeting.
Thank you that I can bring her something she can digest and tastes good.
Thank you for the ability to do something for her.
Thank you for milk.
Thank you for my refrigerator to keep it cold.
Thank you for her doctors.
Thank you that we met.
Thank you that we have so many laughs even when things suck.
Thank you for my advisory board.
Thank you for hope.
So because this glass of chocolate milk offered my heart so much love and obviously affected her as well, I felt nervous about the possible misinterpretation of it on the list! I felt in love with the little red cup I had poured it into. When she drank it I felt so grateful that with all the things I have no control over, I could do this one small thing for her.
It reminded me that with all the big stuff happening in life, most times it is the smallest of things that bring us back to center. The healing comes when we take gratitude seriously enough to become humbled by the smallest of things. The big things are easier and more obvious… our health, our family, our home. It’s the digging deep to find gratitude in a glass of chocolate milk that starts to peel back the layers of our hearts and this truth is certainly something worthy of making the list. Judgment or no judgment.
Reflection: Let’s practice giving with gratitude and receiving with gratitude. Let’s be grateful for the smallest of comforts in this uncertain life.