Nouwen and The Discipline of Gratitude

I really like what Henry Nouwen writes about the discipline of gratitude:

Gratitude … goes beyond the “mine” and “thine” and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint…The choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious.

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Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. Wess has a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and is the father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with friends, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

4 thoughts on “Nouwen and The Discipline of Gratitude”

  1. Hi Wes,

    Gratitude is indeed meant to be a lifestyle: both gratitude to God and to and for others. Yet, I find how easy it is to forget in the midst of a hectic world and busy lifestyles.Thanks for the reminder in this post. Gratitude makes the heart sing.

    Shalom,
    John Arthur

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