The power and blessings of gratitude

Saturday October 06, 2018 Written by Published in Virtues in Paradise

I was sitting outside the pharmacy at Aitutaki Hospital smiling to myself and a nurse came along to visit with me for a moment. “You seem happy,” she said.

 

“I am,” I replied. “I was just thinking that this is the best medical care I’ve received anywhere I’ve ever lived.”

“Really?”

“Yes, the doctors and nurses give good care, and I get the basic medications I need, but it’s more than that. I feel personally cared about as a person.”

From the moment of walking into the reception area where patients and staff call out warm greetings, and where someone is likely to ask, “Are you all right, Mama?” to the doctor printing out educational tips for me, to the pharmacist who quickly puts together a package for me and again, gives me that Aitutaki smile.

The nurse I was talking to was very helpful to me when I was hospitalised over a year ago for a serious bout of septicemia. She gave me clear healing instructions of what to do once I got home, so that instead of just worrying, I had a plan.

It’s really good to pause often and count our blessings. The more thankful we are, the more we tend to magnetise bounty. There are depths to the virtue of gratitude that truly enrich the soul. We are told to be thankful in all circumstances, through good times and bad, to seek the lessons in all that happens, to see the tests as grist for God’s mill in spiritually refining us.  To be thankful in the midst of adversity is the mark of a truly mature person. Thessalonians 1:5 says, “No matter what happens always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you.”

Another level of gratitude is reflected in the Baha’i Writings: “To thank God for His bounties consisteth in a possessing a radiant heart, and a soul open to the promptings of the spirit. This is the essence of thanksgiving.”

A radiant heart is one that shines out with love. What does it mean to be open to the promptings of the spirit? The Society of Friends, known as Quakers say that everyone has an inner light and quieting down into pure awareness provides amazing guidance.

Mother Theresa says “God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.”

I remember a time when I was praying to be of service and a young woman, new to our island, came strongly into my mind. I didn’t know her name but I knew where she, her husband and baby lived.

Listening to the prompting of my spirit I hopped in the car and went to visit her. As I pulled up, she came out with her baby in her arms and said, “Mama Linda, how did you...?” She later finished the sentence: “How did you know I needed someone to come?”

She had been excruciatingly lonely and prayed intensely that morning for someone to visit her.

She talked for about two hours, and was in awe when I explained that I was prompted to come and see her in the midst of my own prayers.  “Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.” (Isaiah 45:15) 

To practice gratitude, take time in silence to reflect on what is blessing you, what life and your tests are teaching you, how and to whom you can radiate love, and what spirit is prompting you to do.

Express gratitude for it all. 

Indian philosopher Sri Chinmoy says: “Listen to the inner light; it will guide you. Listen to the inner peace; it will feed you. Listen to the inner love; it will transform you.”

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