Thursday, January 26, 2012

People as gifts

Yesterday we attended the funeral of a friend in our congregation. In his sermon, the pastor invited us not to focus on the fact that death had snatched Ron from our midst. Rather, he urged us to spend time thinking about what a gift Ron was in each of our lives. The pastor didn’t want to be dismissive of the necessary grief and the feelings of loss. In fact, he encouraged us to do the grief work. He also wanted us all to frame our lives in a positive way, however.

Anger about losing loved ones is a natural place to spend some time. But it’s not a good place to stay. The pastor realized that after the anger and sadness, a new focus would be necessary—a focus that permits the good memories to emerge.

Do you see the people in your lives as a gift? I know I sometimes lose sight of that with my fiancĂ©, my sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. I forget that my friends are gifts to me. I certainly didn’t always see my former work colleagues as gifts.

What would change?
How might our lives be different if we remembered, more often anyway, that we are blessed by the presence of those who are in our lives? Would we be more gracious and open? Might we forgive more easily?

I don’t know about you. But I’d like to try living this way—at least more often than I do. When I live with more gratitude, my heart feels more expansive. I feel much more generous, giving and forgiving toward all those I meet. I like the way that feels so much better than when I’m negative, angry or complaining.

Try keeping a Gratitude Journal; write even just five things every morning for which you’re grateful. Or just think about five things each morning when you’re in the shower—or sipping your coffee. Do it with real intention and thoughtfulness.

And think about the people who surround you as gifts to you. Treasure them—and tell them that you do. See how much different you feel inside! Feel the joy!

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