It has been several weeks since my last post and since then, we have gone on vacation and survived the spring forward time change. The robins are back and the trees are blooming. I have put off writing again and again because admittedly, I have been depressed. Not just the “I’m having a bad day” kind of depression, but the kind that makes your bones ache or feels like a heavy weight is on your chest and you have to talk yourself into getting out of bed a lot more than usual. This is not easy for me to admit. I had the hardest time trying to pinpoint the cause or event that triggered this cloud that has been hanging over my head – is it grief, lack of exercise or fun, my diet? Although all of these things can contribute to depression, the antidote that makes a world of difference in finding the light again is contained in one word: GRATITUDE.
Years ago, I started a gratitude journal. I kept it on my nightstand and made myself write down 5 things I was thankful for from that day. Despite the prognosis of my sons’ disease, I was able to find the joy in life almost every day. As the surgeries increased and the care took longer and became harder, and as I had to watch my oldest son endure pain and loss that was completely unfair, I stopped writing in it. A few months after we lost Christian, I bought a new gratitude journal. I may write down something big like “I am thankful for receiving an unexpected refund in the mail today” or something small like “I am thankful for the chickadees singing outside of my window.” Anything big or small that we can find to be grateful for can lift us up. We literally have to lift up our heads and look around so we can notice the beauty of God’s creation, which in turn lifts up our hearts. A heart of gratitude sets the stage for God’s blessings and His favor. It also opens windows and doors for goodness to flow into our lives and invites joy into our hearts.