I sit, watching the hustle and bustle. Shoppers darting in and out of the stores. It seems they are intent on buying the newest gadget, entertainment, or latest craze. Trying to satisfy their soul. Buying happiness.
I see the looks of frustration and the lack of joy. Women on a mission, determined to find the perfect Christmas gift or decorations before things are sold out. Their gaits hurried and intentional. It’s hard to make eye contact, much less, exchange smiles, and I ask myself, “Are they happy?”
An elderly man pauses at where I’m sitting. He sees me on the computer and makes a teasing remark to me about not spending too much money with online shopping. We exchange a laugh and I watch him slowly limping along, bent over with obvious physical limitations.
A few minutes later, I glance up at two women. One looks up and smiles at me. As I return the smile, and I see she’s helping an elderly woman taking careful steps with the aid of a walker. I watch two elderly men as they appear to be taking a routine walk around the mall. One stops to pick up something a child dropped, before he smiles at me as well.
I’m beginning to see a difference. And I thank God for reminding me again…
The key to gratefulness is slowing down and being aware of your blessings. It’s not grasping to gain more. In today’s fast-paced world, we seldom slow down enough to enjoy what we have, much less remember to thank God for it.
It seemed the elderly were more fully present, less distracted, and more at peace. Greater joy happens when there’s less striving and more resting.
You will never be happy until you learn to embrace gratefulness. Gratefulness is recognizing and appreciating what you have, not what you’re hoping to someday get. Taking time to intentionally think about and expressing gratefulness for each blessing.
Many times we bemoan the fact that life keeps rushing along. But time isn’t what’s rushing, it’s our minds that are. We’re trying to keep up with everyone, not wanting to be outdone. Slow your clamoring mind, and you will slow down your life. Savoring your journey begins by slowing your journey.
As I wash my hands, I thank God for hot water. When I wearily crawl into bed, I thank God that I have a soft mattress to lay on. When I’m driving and unexpectedly see the gas tank is almost empty, I thank God that I have money to fill it up. Walking through the flurries of snow, I pause long enough to feel the delicate wisps against my cheeks. I thank God for the beauty of each unique flake. Gratefulness only happens when I’m intentional.
The art of gratefulness begins by slowing down the rushing. Fully embracing gratefulness for the present before entering into something else. Present living rather than future living. During our rushing, we’re missing so many things. Instead of saving time, we’re throwing it away. If you want a full life, you need to focus on full time. Exchanging the busyness of life for the fullness of life. Those who slow down enough to be aware of their blessings are the most grateful.
If what I already have doesn’t satisfy, having more won’t either. Our lives will change when we can be grateful when nothing changes.
How well are you demonstrating gratefulness? Are you focusing more on your blessings than your desires? Do you miss today’s moments because of tomorrow’s goals? The hustle and bustle is a distraction. Robbing our time, and stealing our joy, until we begin embracing gratefulness.
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)