November 20, 2012

On Gratitude

Currently Listening To: Brooke Fraser
About To: pick up my friend Taylor at the airport and head to her house for Thanksgiving! Midnight roadtrip, here we come.

Step 1: read this post by Kate Elizabeth Conner.

In case you didn't read it, let me summarize it for you. What Kate puts forth about gratitude is that "our being “touched” is not the highest purpose of gratitude.  The higher purpose is to be moved." There is a progression that takes place: gratitude brings perspective, which brings awe, which brings contentment - but this is not the end. Contentment should then bring conviction; conviction, action. "The logical extreme then, the inevitable end of gratitude, is a life marked by consistent, intentional, extravagant generosity."

I love this. And I am convicted.

It brings to mind the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, which I read this summer. "We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks," she says. "Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to his grace." Also: "What precedes the miracle is thanksgiving, eucharisteo, and it is a Greek word with a hard meaning that is harder yet to live. Do I really want to take up this word?" This book traces the difficult, glorious pursuit of living it out.

And finally, another thought that intertwines well with this train of thought, by Karl Barth: "Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo. Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lightening."

I wish I had a concise way to wrap all these thoughts together, to weave them into a polished paragraph to finish out this post that leaves you inspired, but I don't. These are just the pieces that have been working their way through my mind these past few days and that are still sinking into my heart. And I hope they work their way into yours, too.

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