The Altitude of Gratitude

Cover Image courtesy of https://unsplash.com/@petekp

Have you ever heard someone say, “Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude?” It is one of those platitudes that bring understanding to the hearer. Because it makes sense. According to author Lewis Howes, “An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike.” As Howes puts it, “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”

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Naturally, at this time of the year; we start to look at our lives and ourselves and wonder to ourselves how we may improve our lot. Or at least our outlook on our lot in life. Because many people believe that it is not about what we have or what happens to us that defines us as people, it is about how we respond to what happens to us or what we have. What our response is to the world around us and the events that occur in our lives does create us as people. How we respond determines what we do next.

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—-Image Courtesy of https://psychlopedia.wikispaces.com/Introspection

And what we do next determines if we gain any positive change or if we make things worse. I have seen this effect in my own life. I have had setbacks and disappointments. Failures and fallings. I have seen some troubles. And caused some trouble. In retrospect, I see that when I responded with gratitude even though I failed to understand my circumstances or the reasons for them; that I was given some clarity on what to do next. And peace over what I am experiencing. And understanding of how to avoid the same thing happening again.

That may be the most valuable thing that comes from being thankful. Sufficient understanding to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. As George Santayana wrote so eloquently in “The Life of Reason”; Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Although I am not certain that anyone has ever said this, I am fairly certain that those who do not understand their past mistakes are going to make them again. And again. And again.

santayana quote

Where does gratitude place us then? Does it bring supernatural humanity to our difficult and challenging lives? Does it somehow bring Aunt Martha back to life? Or get you your job back? Or bring your spouse back? No. It really will not. Most times the tragedies and problems that we all face on this earth will not be reversed miraculously by being thankful for them. In fact, being thankful when your child takes ill or flunks out of school, or when you wife cheats on you or when you write a completely off the wall report that gets you fired seems counterintuitive doesn’t it?

Is it even possible to give thanks when you get the news you have cancer? Or when you find out that your best friend is moving away? Or your mom was just killed in an auto accident? Or if you find someone stole your identity and all the work you have done to bring prosperity into your life has been dashed causing you to become behind in all your bills and on the verge of foreclosure?

The answer is yes. It is possible to give thanks in tragedy and loss. When you disappoint yourself and those around you. When things start going badly and you have no control over it. It is possible.

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Image courtesy of https://www.sunshinewhispers.com/about-me/

If you take comfort in the Holy Scriptures, and take the time to read them; you will see that people did give thanks. Even when God told them to do unthinkable things. Consider Abraham. He was commanded to sacrifice his own son whom he loved deeply. And he fully intended to obey God. He took his precious child to the place God commanded. He started the fire. He had the knife to his son’s throat. And God interrupted Abraham’s plan to obey. A burnt offering was provided and Isaac was spared.

If you look closely at this story in the Holy Scripture, you see that Abraham worshiped God despite what he was told to do. Within worship there is gratitude. Deep heartfelt and genuine gratitude. And although in this story, a miracle did occur; it was Abraham’s attitude that got him through this incredible test. His attitude was that God would provide. And God did.

So it may be that having an attitude of gratitude actually lifts a person above their circumstances. Creates an altitude of gratitude. Above the pain and disappointment. Above the grief and fear. Above the temporal things that sometimes seem so out of whack and confusing. Above the world and its schemes and petty concerns. Above it all.

Today, when you are giving thanks consider Him who has given us all things to enjoy. And who constantly seeks to bring us into fellowship and worship. Give thanks to Him who is Worthy. And rise above it all where there is order and love and peace. Give thanks to God Most High, for He is good. For His Mercy endures forever.

 

 

 

Mahoning Valley Podcast Andrea Wood Interview Episode 37

You can download this from SoundCloud here.

If you want or need different audio files to download, head on over to the Internet Archive

AW Portrait

Today we are talking with Andrea Wood the Publisher of the Business Journal Daily here in Youngstown. Thanks for granting me an interview today Ms Wood.

I understand you were a resident of Poland for a while. Please tell me about your favorite place in the Mahoning Valley.

The Central YMCA in Youngstown

The Central YMCA Youngstown Facebook Page

The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley

2:35 I also understand that you and I have in common growing up in the Pittsburgh Area. I went to Central Catholic in Oakland, and you went to Fox Chapel High. Although it is not directly related to the Mahoning Valley, what was your favorite activity in High School?

Pure as the Driven Snow a Melodrama on Amazon

4:05 You started working in Youngstown for one of our local TV Stations WYTV Channel 33 as an investigative reporter and was promoted to chief anchor and executive producer. How did that come about? Moving to Youngstown?

Tokyo House

Affirmative Action

Michael Moliterno

Stacia Erdos

Tokyo House

11:04 What would you tell young people who are just starting out is the most important thing to remember when striving to succeed?

Youngstown Flea

Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation on Twitter

Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership on Facebook.

The Youngstown Flea

First Youngstown Flea in April on Facebook

14:43 As an investigative reporter, you must have come across some stories that may have put your life in danger, what do you think was the most dangerous story you have reported on? And why do you feel that way?

Joanne Elaine Coughlin Missing

16:45 Why did you decide to become a journalist? What was the impetus for that decision?

Penn State

Penn State

18:48 What was you inspiration to start the Business Journal Daily in 1984?

Meals on Wheels of Mahoning Valley Page on Facebook. Go ahead and give them a like.

21:10 Once you started the Journal, what was one of the things that you had to deal with that you never would have expected to happen?

22:09 Many people sometimes forget that people in the media have lives outside of the office. What is your favorite off hours activity?

Michael Dyson

Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Dyson on Amazon

White Privilege

Kathy Miller Story on the Vindicator

Greg Iles Novels

25:08 I am sure you have met many very interesting people in your life, Who was the most interesting and why?

Dolly Parton

Dolly-Parton-in-the-1970s-442243

Dolly Parton benefit for Wildfire Victims.

27:52 If you could do anything tomorrow, anything at all; what would it be?

29:27 What do you most want to be remembered for after you are gone? Is there anything that you want people to think about when they hear your name?

33:24 Is there anything that you wanted to talk about today that I did not ask about?

Dwight Stickler

Easter Brunch at Kravitz in Fellows Riverside Garden