Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gratitude

I saw my doctor last week for the first time since my back surgery, and I got some really good news. My back is good, my blood pressure is good and my cholesterol is good. It's been a long time since those three things have been good at the same time.

It got me thinking about how much I really have to be grateful for, and I think I'm more thankful for good health now than I've ever been. When you're younger it's so easy to take good health for granted. I know I did. Last year was scarier for me than I probably let on to. In the back of my mind was always the question "What if this thing with my back doesn't get fixed?" Especially as it got worse, I wondered what I would do if my back never got better. So I'm really grateful that the surgery worked.

And even beyond good health I have a boatload of things to be grateful for that I sometimes take for granted. When I was getting sober years ago, one of the things I was taught in AA was the importance of developing an "attitude of gratitude." I hated that phrase. When my life sucked, as it often did in those days, my AA sponsor would make me write down the things I was thankful for- a "gratitude list." I frequently hated him too. But the thing is, those things worked. They forced me to stop looking at everything negatively and give thanks to my Creator for his blessings.

Life is good for me these days, but I can still fall into the trap of looking at things negatively. I lean towards pessimism by nature. So I find I still need to be intentional about reminding myself of all that God has blessed Vicki and me with. I love this passage from Philippians 4:4-7:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Peace or anxiety? The choice is mine!

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