AdventWord 2019: 13. Water
It is easy to overlook the powerful nature of water. Many of us engage with water when it is controlled – pouring out of taps in our houses or running from a pump in a well. But water is a powerful force. Water can turn a piece of broken glass into a soft rock, carve out a canyon from flat earth, and wash clean people, things, and even itself. Water changes things.
I live in New Mexico at the confluence of three rivers and in the midst of a place that is often challenged by drought. Our rivers churn with water in the spring and early summer as the snowpack to the north melts. Then, come fall, our rivers settle into their banks to prepare for winter. The rivers are living members of our community, bound neither by their banks nor our needs. They are a constant reminder of how we need water to live and our responsibility to care and cultivate this important natural resource.
I believe that gratitude is a lot like water. Gratitude also changes things. Like water, we need gratitude, and it is our responsibility to care and cultivate a grateful heart. When we practice gratitude, we notice that during the course of our day, God is doing amazing things in the midst of us, inside of us, and in spite of us – and our job is to respond to that with gratitude. So, like the rock that is tumbling through the river and having the rough edges knocked off, gratitude moves us through our days. We are able to notice the little things that others are doing for us, that make us stronger, braver, and better.
We need gratitude because it acknowledges at our core that we need each other, and that as humans, we hope to impact the world in positive ways. Humans thrive on meaning-making and gratitude is one way that we can understand that we have impacted others. So today, when you are out living your life, be sure to stop and notice all of the good things God is doing around you and give thanks. Be sure to say thank you to those people that you might not otherwise have said anything to. See how it changes you and changes them. Join in the flow of gratitude, see the broken glass worn smooth in your life and in the lives of others.
If you’d like to find ways to deepen or start a personal spiritual discipline of gratitude, be sure to check out the United Thank Offering (UTO) and find out how your gratitude for the blessings of your day can go on to bless others: www.episcopalchurch.org/uto or www.unitedthankoffering.org.