A Life of Gratitude

So how is your New Year’s resolution doing? Don’t ask me about mine…

Resolutions are intriguing, if you think about it. A time when all of us make a simultaneous decision to “do better.” And more often than not, if you’re anything like me, fail within the first month of trying. So what “thing” did you choose to “do better” this year? Hopefully, you’re still on the right track.

Despite our desire to “begin anew”, there remains one central and innate commonality that we all share. One mainspring that drives almost every longing, every pursuit, and every obstacle that we strive to overcome. That is, simply to be happy. The difference that separates us, however, is what happiness looks like.

As we have launched into a new year, I’m sure many of you have set new year’s resolutions. Resolutions to be more fit, to be healthier, to spend more time with God, or to simply make better use of our time. All noble and worthy goals. And if you’re like me, many of you have already fallen short of meeting the goal set out for yourself just one month ago.

But as we set our minds on these “things” to conquer, whatever those goals might be, there’s one other common idea that exists that can help each of us achieve our overall pursuit of happiness. To be more grateful – because in fact, to be more grateful leads to a greater level of happiness.

Gratefulness. I don’t mean the type of gratefulness that you have when grandma sends you a $20 bill in the mail, or being grateful only when you experience a shot of good fortune. But simply recognizing that every moment is a gift. You see, gratefulness is a state…a mindset. Things, stuff, objects, money, even experiences should not alone cause us to be grateful. While those things are certainly blessings, its through the opportunities (or moments) that we encounter each day that are the true gifts. How many times do we (or I) miss those moments to simply be grateful?

Maybe it’s a moment with your children, with your spouse, a parent, a loved one, or a friend. As I look back just over the last several years and realize how many moments with my children I have missed, solely because I was caught up in the busyness of life or preparing for “what’s next;” perhaps even when they were right in my presence. Yet, I missed the moment to be grateful.

To live in a way that we can remember every moment is gift (easier said than done) – but to take that realization to the next level. To be grateful for each moment…moments that are indeed fleeting.

Obviously, not every moment generates “gratefulness.” Times of trouble, of oppression, of loss, are all moments where it is challenging to find, have, or express gratefulness. Nonetheless, the opportunities still remain…opportunities to learn, to grow, to be more patient, to draw closer to others, and perhaps most importantly, to draw closer to God. Gratefulness, even in the midst of trouble, is still attainable.

I certainly don’t write this as an expert, but rather as one who is aspiring to achieve such a mindset. For it is when I am at the end of my life looking back that I don’t want to remember the moments of regret, but rather, the moments for which I was grateful.

I think our residents at BVT live this out well. Their pursuit of each moment, despite the challenges they endure, motivate me. So many walk throughout their life grateful. Grateful for the small things they are given or the little moments that they experience. True gratefulness. True happiness. Something I long for and aspire to be more like.

So, as we continue our pursuit of happiness in 2020, my challenge to each of us is to be more grateful. Seek the good in each opportunity. And attain a life of true happiness that starts with recognizing the good that exists in each treasured moment.

Until next time,

Steven Campbell

Executive Director