Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The ABC's of Gratitude ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The ABC's of Gratitude ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

Imagine this: You've just gotten word that a close friend is in dire straits. Gratitude isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind, is it? Yet, it's interesting to consider what might happen if it were. What's the result when thanks that well up from deep in one's heart become the first response? According to the Bible, it's something marvelous. When gratitude leads, it opens the door to healing.

Case in point? When Jesus got the news that his good friend Lazarus had died. Standing at the door to the sepulchre, Jesus did something unusual. He thanked God. Then he called Lazarus's name. And Lazarus emerged - alive. (See John 11:1-46.)

Spiritual thinker and healer Mary Baker Eddy explained this death- defying phenomenon when she wrote, "Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," page 2). In Lazarus's case, the harmonizing effect of gratitude was that it brought the changelessness of divine Life - God - to light. No mere thank-you, Jesus' gratitude was a direct appeal to the reality that God knows and maintains - a reality of Life's allness and ever-presence. What followed was healing.

I'd heard this about gratitude - that it leads to healing. And the story of Lazarus is a compelling example. Until recently, though, I'd never experienced it for myself. And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. I have to admit that I'd wondered more than once: Would gratitude work for me?

Then came the morning when I could barely drag myself out of bed. The day hadn't begun, and my head was already throbbing. The problem with these headaches, as I'd discovered, was that they seemed to render me incapable of thinking - or praying - productively. How I was going to pray - or function at work for that matter - was beyond my comprehension.

"Try gratitude," came the thought. Well, that's not quite the extent of the message. It was more like, "Try the ABCs of gratitude."

When I ran with some regularity in college, I had a routine that kept me focused on God - instead of on my feet pounding on the pavement. I'd proceed through the alphabet, thinking of a word that corresponded with each letter. …

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