Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Faith: Gratitude for the Future
One facet of “writing it down” that I often seem to forget about, is being grateful.
Gratitude has an easy textbook definition: [appreciating benefits received]. But, if you notice, the definition is in the past tense. So, by inference, you can only be grateful after a benefit has been given. I certainly remember to thank God when I have received a benefit, but what happens when you write something down, and you are hopeful for it, but it doesn’t happen?
As many of you know, my first book club recommendation is Write it Down, Make it Happen, by Henriette Anne Klauser. And, like many passionate authors, Klauser is thorough – thorough enough to point out the “whys” that occur when something written down doesn’t happen.
Sometimes, the faith that we have in the future, is dramatically defined by the knowledge of the past. We may have been abused, but by virtue of life experience, we now understand the reason for that abuse, and we become grateful for it. Yet, in our current circumstance, we may get abused again, but cannot find our way out. So, in frantic hopes that God will do his “magic,” we write down our vision of being freed from this abuse. And, in a funny turn of events, we don’t receive reprieve from the abuse. Why?
Perhaps the retroactive gratitude displays a wavering faith. Perhaps true faith lies in the “knowledge” of the future. Perhaps we so often over-identify with the knowledge of the past, that we forget to acknowledge that which has not yet been given, and in turn, our dreams do not become a reality.
By acknowledging the benefit before it is given, we are stepping off a cliff onto a platform that doesn’t exist [yet]. We are saying that we know our feet will have a place to rest even though we cannot physically see it. And by being grateful for something that has yet to appear, we are showing faith.
Let me articulate this point further: I am not saying that the platform (per say) will appear as we know it (i.e. the minute we step off the cliff), but it will appear. For example – we may step off of a cliff, thanking God in advance for the platform. But because we are truly faithful, we fall several feet before our feet land on a stretch of earth. We do not become caught up in the illusion that we are falling, and perhaps will plummet to our death. Or that perhaps during the long fall, we will be scathed and injured. Instead, because we are truly grateful for and focus on the outcome, the outcome appears, albeit differently than we can conceive with our humanly mind.
The point is, retroactive gratitude isn’t necessarily gratitude at all – it’s just an experience that we are happy to have been given! Since we have already seen how God moves in our lives, we aren’t showing knowledge of the unseen, because we already saw it! Of course we are grateful. We know that it happened for sure! On the flip side, living out our futures gratefully, we are practicing faith in the truest form, and believing in the unseen. We don’t know how it’s going to happen, but we know the outcome, because we feel confident enough to be grateful for the “unknown”.
So, let us write in gratitude, as Klauser points out. Let’s be thankful before the act has occurred. Let us know the outcome. As far as I am concerned, it seems the only time I receive in abundance is when I am grateful for the unknown.
Write it down, be grateful, make it happen.
Peace and Peace.