At the first of last year, I shared on our family blog my intent to take the Joy Dare on Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience, and count 1,000 gifts in 2012. I got a little behind what with the craziness of December, and then I lost December’s print-out on our trip, but this afternoon, I stole a few quiet moments to sit outside on our veranda and catch up. The idea is to list three things you are thankful for each day of the year, resulting in over 1,000 gifts listed by the year’s end. If I numbered correctly, then there are exactly 1,098 items on my list! That’s a lot to be thankful for!
This has been an interesting experiment for me. I’ve certainly become more aware of all that I have to thank God for. Sometimes, my eyes were opened to gifts that I probably would not have recognized otherwise. At the same time, it was a stretch for me to discover gifts that were “ugly-beautiful” or the gifts that Ann calls “hard eucharisteo,” those things that are difficult to give thanks for, that maybe don’t even seem like gifts at all.
On her blog, Ann points to research that suggests that people who develop an “attitude of gratitude” are generally happier, and have less stress, more energy, and better relationships. I can’t say that I really found any of that to be true for me this year. I think I would like to try this again at some point in the future when I feel like I’ve regained my equilibrium somewhat, when I’m “normal” again (whatever that means – ha!). Honestly, at times this year, I felt like all my gratitude practice was doing was keeping the depression and the discouragement at bay. I suppose if being thankful does at least that much, that’s probably a good thing.
Ann is doing the Joy Dare again this year, if you are interested in joining in. Click here for all the details. And if you don’t subscribe to her blog, well, you really should!