Torstai 24.1.2019
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Me saimme katsella hänen kirkkauttaan, kirkkautta, jonka Isä ainoalle Pojalle antaa. Joh. 1:14

Blog: Gratitude makes us see the good things

in English 29.12.2018 06:55 | Päivämies-verkkolehti
Why hasn’t father come home yes? Has he had a seizure? Has he been paralyzed? I stop at the window to scan the drive and the yard for the stooped figure. At last I see a shadow on the driveway, the familiar figure of my father!
My father had a lot of health problems during his last years. He had bypass surgery for heart problems. After that a carotid thrombus was surgically removed, and then he developed epilepsy. He was also treated for cerebral infarctions and hemorrhages. Miraculously, however, he recovered every time and was able to return home, almost his old self. I learnt to feel gratitude and the kind of happiness that is aroused by gratitude.

One time, when father had been taken in an ambulance to a university hospital far from home, I wondered at my reaction. Although I wept out of worry and fear, I also felt strangely happy. Why was I happy, although I was so worried about my unbelieving father’s health and especially his soul? Was the situation so serious that I understood how helpless we humans are? Like a child, I had to rely on God’s help.

Years later I read a book that made me understand that my feeling at that time had actually been gratitude. That book described gratitude as a positive feeling that binds people together and enhances our perception of the good things we have been given by other people and by life. It makes us happy and gives us a solid feeling of being loved. A grateful person understands that life is a gift, not just something self-evident. He is grateful for what he has been given. Gratitude also alleviates anxiety and feelings of envy. 

We can be grateful for even very small things, and they might actually be the best way to start searching for gratitude. I had an experience that may seem funny but made me feel truly grateful. I had a blocked ear, and the health center nurse told me to buy a bottle of solution that would remove the lump of wax. I did as instructed and started dropping the solution into my ear. But the pain only got worse, especially when I lay down and tried to sleep. I even tried dropping water along with the solution, but that did not help either. This went on for weeks. I slept badly and my nerves began to fray. I finally went to see the nurse again, and she gave me ear lavage. The warm water injected into my ear helped to remove the lump of wax. I was able to hear! For many weeks afterwards I remembered every day with gratitude the nurse who helped to solve the problem.

I tend to worry about my own life and the life of my dear ones. Especially in the darkness of the night I sometimes feel overwhelmed by worry and unable to sleep. I have sometimes felt so distressed that I have seen nothing good in my life, only fear and darkness. At those times I have forced myself to think about the good things I have. And gradually I have begun to see something positive in my life. My efforts to find causes for gratitude have steered my thinking away from worries and sorrows. I have begun to see faith and life as great gifts of God and a special reason for gratitude.

It is possible to enhance gratitude and positive emotions by keeping a diary of things to be grateful for. Or more simply, when we lie down for the night, we can think about what made us feel grateful during the day and say a small prayer of thanks. We can also write a letter or a message to tell somebody that we are grateful to them. 

For nearly ten years now I have not needed to worry about my father. He has passed away into the eternal rest of the righteous, and that is a great source of gratitude for me.

Text: Aulikki Piirainen
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen

You will find the original Finnish blog post here.
 

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