Through simple exercises and reflections, he helped us see who we are separate from titles, education, salaries, successes or failures. And as we set aside our distractions, gratefulness emerged. He explained that, “The root of joy is gratefulness...It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
When we are faced with a crisis--be it health, relationship, finance or otherwise, it can be difficult to be grateful. But when we pause, it often emerges. We notice the sunset in all its splendor, a child's smile innocent and free, an invalid's determination to move forward, a mother's tenderness towards her young. We see more deeply--when we pause.
I often think of Brother David and his reminders about appreciating the "little things of life." He had asked me why I hurried so, and just as I started to say, "because I have to do this and this and...", I looked into his eyes--and fell into his silence. There was nothing I really had to do--except I needed to learn to be.
I'm reminded of Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem on Thanksgiving, perfect for this season:
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson