I SAT UP AND RE-READ THE QUESTION: "Are we really grateful for the good already received?" I'd read this question countless times in Science and Health (p.3). This time, though, it startled me that I'd never really come to grips with it. How can you tell if you're really grateful? What does it feel like? How would I describe the feeling to someone who'd never heard the word grateful? I found myself circling around the answer by using the words thankfulness and appreciation—a good start but not descriptive enough.
Although thanksgiving to God is a recurring theme throughout the Old and New Testaments, the words gratitude and grateful do not appear in the Bible. So I looked up grateful and gratitude in several dictionaries and found three basic ingredients: being aware of good received (including its source); being glad about it; valuing it.
Now that helped immensely. I began asking myself during the day, "Am I aware of any specific blessing from God this moment? Am I glad about it? Can I see its value? And then I put into practice what I was thinking. For example, as I sat down on a crowded subway, I became aware of happily chatting passengers. I noticed students giving up their seats to others, a courteous conductor, well-behaved bouncy children. I gladly identified all of this good as God's gift of the moment—proof of His loving, harmonious presence with us all. Valuing—even treasuring—these moments felt like this awareness must be a bit of the kingdom of heaven on earth.
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