RE-Flections: On Naming Gratitude

I’m a big fan of the NPR show “On Being” with Krista Tippett. Two years ago, singer Carrie Newcomer shared her poem “Three Gratitudes” on an episode.

The poem starts with this:
Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.

(A video of Ms. Newcomer reading this poem is well worth your time.)

I have kept a gratitude journal myself off and on for many years, turning to it most often in the winter months when the cold gray days seem to color my heart. I challenge myself to find and name five things each day for which to be grateful. I must admit that I only sometimes say these things out loud, but I find it generally works much the way Ms. Newcomer suggests: I sleep with a lighter heart. You might be amazed at the difference this practice makes as you (or your child!) shift to a lens of thanksgiving. Just Google the words “Gratitude Journal Benefits” and you will find both scientific evidence and personal testimony that sings the praises of mindful recognition of the good things in one’s life. As we head into Thanksgiving, I invite you to lift up your own blessings, and to consider gratitude as a memory of the heart.

-Beryl Aschenberg, Director of Religious Education