Choosing to be Grateful
We were made to enjoy music, to enjoy beautiful sunsets, to enjoy looking at the billows of the sea and to be thrilled with a rose that is bedecked with dew…human beings are actually created for the transcendent, for the sublime, for the beautiful, for the truthful…and all of us are given the task of trying to make this world a little more hospitable to these beautiful things
-Nobel Piece Prize Recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu
As we write this we are sitting at a table by a window looking out as the snow falls all around us. And we are grateful for its beauty. As we approach mid-winter here in the Northeast United States, it would be very easy and tempting to begin to be critical of this weather–the cold, the wind, the gray skies, the short days. After a certain point these conditions could wear us down, causing us to become bitter, discouraged, short-tempered, and generally unhappy. In fact, we have a few friends for whom Seasonal Affect Disorder is a very real challenge at this time of year, a challenge not to be minimized.
But this Season, like all Seasons (and not just seasons of the year but seasons of life), is just a season–it won’t last–a new season will come along. In this moment, we look out the window at the world around us and choose to see not just the barrenness, but wonder and beauty and goodness and growth, too. We see trees blanketed in white, the needed moisture quenching a thirsty earth, children gasping in excitement at the prospect of a coming snow day from school.
It would be easy to be critical and weary of this time of year but we would rather see instead what is beautiful, what is good, what brings joy. And that in itself, softens the harshness around us.