It’s a wierd topic to talk about considering it’s now the lenten season in the church’s liturgical calendar. But having just returned from a mini-retreat (and I just realized how badly I needed one!) it got me thinking about gratitude – the things which we are so blessed with in our lives and yet we take it for granted. I believe the root cause of this issue stems from the cultural norms that have permeated into our societies today – we have become more critical of things and less appreciative of things and of people. In a twisted way, I blame technology for this – you see technology in a way has enabled and improved efficiency in virtually all aspects of our lives? Don’t believe me, think about some of the most favourite things you like to do? – I can bet your money’s worth you can find some technology that has played some part in enabling you to enjoy what you do.
But herein lies the problem; just as how we have gotten used to efficiency, efficiency has diminished some of humanity’s core virtues – chief among them is gratitude. we have simply lost the virtue and principle of being thankful. These days gratitude is either spoken less and less or if given, it’s received with some degree of insincerity.
Why is that? Why is it that at both ends of the spectrum gratitude has fallen short? Why is it we are far more critical of people rather than celebrating a person for who he/she is? Or when gratitude is given, why is it often received with a dose of skeptisicm? Perhaps once again it has to do with the corruptibility that technology has had in our lives – could it be in a world where technology enables us to share more with others with a myriad of social networking tools, in the name of getting connected we have become more self-centered and self-absorbed? In the rush for efficiency (which isn’t a bad thing) we trail blaze past gratituity and we forget the things we ought to be thankful for.
Is there anything that can be done? Of course there is – the human race has been blessed with the most precious gift that any species in the animal kingdom has – the brain! The capabilities of the human brain to learn something and change if desired is often understated among many people. But it’s far from the truth – the mind is capable of adapting and changing given the right discipline, stimulus and mindset. And because of that we can do something about it – by simply doing the small things around us first. We can be grateful to God in so many ways; to our family members and to our friends as well. I’m not saying that you need to now go and buy chocolates to your friends to show your appreciation – in fact I believe in today’s day and age, many people, especially the younger people do yearn for some meaning to their lives and showing your gratitude towards another is one way you can make a difference. Is it hard? – you bet! Is it impossible? – absolutely not!
So what are you grateful for today? Take 2 minutes now and just reflect on that.