Friday, June 16, 2017

Gratitude & the Good Life (excerpt)

This piece appears on my HuffPost blog (and more can be found here), but I thought you might want a taste.
“There are two types of people—those who divide people into two types and everyone else.” Mark Twain
With Twain in mind (as he indeed did cleave humanity in twain with this quip), 
I’m willing to say that there are two basic approaches to our existence: 
Life either bursts with meaning, and we can receive it as a glorious gift. 
Or it is meaningless and that makes life a dull fact.
It doesn’t take much scrutiny to find that the Bible teaches the first alternative is better. 
“Give thanks in all circumstances,” as Paul summarized it in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. 
Well, in addition to the Scriptures, it also seems like several contemporary sciences are doing the same thing.
This may not be news to some, but studies of gratitude and its positive benefits. 
(I’ll use thankfulness as a synonym to avoid repetitiveness) have become a cottage industry. 
There’s a wealth of information on both the benefits of thankfulness and the ways to cultivate it. 
Simply put, it seems that gratitude makes us healthy. [I close with this....]
Gratitude is intimately tied with praise, which is, as C.S. Lewis put it, "inner health made audible." 
Gratitude is the proper stimulus to love the other. 
And maybe that’s where praise, gratitude, and love come together.

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