Editor’s Note: CWG Member Dennis McGeehan submitted this guest post on love and gratitude, a timely meditation as we gear up for the holidays.
The two most important things in each of our lives are love and our attitude. The wonderful truth is that every person is in total control of both, because both are a choice we each choose to make. Love is not a feeling. Being in love is a feeling that all new couples understand. But love is a choice that we make, when we are happy or sad, angry or fearful, energetic or exhausted. Our attitude is also a choice. It is affected by external factors, but it is the internal decisions that ultimately control our attitude.
What is love? The Bible says it best: It is patient, kind and gentle. It is not pompous or rude. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things and endures forever.
Others observe the outward expression of our inner attitude. We are either grateful or resentful, peaceful or angry, cheerful or sullen, hopeful or despairing. Challenges and difficulties will certainly occur in everyone’s life. Momentary losses of peace and happiness are totally human. But peace and joy depend on how we respond to those challenges. We must push aside the negative and embrace the positive. We must fight those forces and feelings that seek to weigh us down.
To be prepared for the times when life is very hard, we must use the good times to build inner strength. This is done by nurturing an “attitude of gratitude”, and by actively engaging in acts of love at every opportunity. When bad times hit, we use the “love” and “gratefulness” muscles we have built during the good times.
Opportunities for acts of love happen all the time. Take an elderly person to a doctor’s appointment. Hold a door for a mother with cranky kids. Volunteer at a local charity. We get to choose how we express our love. When bad times befall, we must not cut back on these acts; instead we need to embrace them and maybe increase them. Helping others has been proven to be therapeutic even for the clinically depressed.
Everyone needs to love and be loved. Everyone wants to feel useful and needed. No sane person wants to be angry and sad all the time. The wonderful fact is, we all have a choice.
Choose Love. Choose an Attitude of Gratitude!