Thank You For All Kinds Of Weather
I recently heard a prayer attributed to St. Francis: “Thank you for all kinds of weather!” Beyond the recognition of the beauty of different weather patterns, there’s a truth in these words that illuminates gratitude and that offers clarity to the Biblical saying, “in everything, give thanks.
What was Paul thinking when he wrote, in everything, give thanks? To be grateful in every situation is not only difficult when we are worried or anxious about something; it seems impossible. Whenever something negative happens, we get lost in a stream of negative thoughts. Finding the answers to questions such as Why?, Why me?, What does this say about me?, What can I do?, can become an obsession. The last thing on our minds is a genuine sense of gratitude.
But before we give up on being grateful when things are not going our way, let’s look a bit deeper at gratitude.
At its core, gratitude is anchored in “what is.” One could say that thankfulness begins with a quiet recognition and deep appreciation for the present moment. It’s a feeling of aliveness that emerges from within when we are fully engaged with, and giving complete attention to, whatever life form that is before us.
Gratitude is then that which springs forth out of inner stillness that is deeper than thought. You are simply aware. You are aware without the filter of conditioned thoughts and beliefs. What you perceive at that moment is a deep sense of aliveness within “what is.”
In a letter to Ephesus, Paul wrote that “God is above all, in all, and through all.” “In God, we live and move and have our being,” he stated in another place. The conditioned mind cannot perceive this Divine Reality. But in stillness, when you are simply aware, you sense a sacred Presence in all things.
It’s interesting how the Bible says that when God created the world, God saw that it was good. That is what you will see when you are simply aware beyond thought. You perceive goodness because you sense the aliveness – a sacred Presence – within all things. Gratitude then arises spontaneously.
So when you get a bill in the mail, and you don’t know how to pay for it, take a moment and become completely still. Give your full attention to a flower, a bird, your dog, the snow on the ground, or the pouring rain outside. Move deeper than the conditioned mind that seeks to label what you see as either good or bad. Take in what you see until you feel alertness in the stillness and aliveness within what you see.
Out of that awareness, an attitude of gratitude will well up inside you — a quiet appreciation for life and the acknowledgment of the inherent goodness in all life forms. You may even become aware of Divine Presence interwoven in all things. Gratitude is then the only response.
Even if the weather does not cooperate with your plans, you are grateful because you are present with “what is” and conscious of what Paul refers to as “Christ is all, and in all.” Amazingly, creativity and wisdom for the problems you may face will then naturally emerge from within. It’s the path of love.
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