I was thinking about Chesterton’s thought on gratitude:
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
– GK Chesterton
I have always been puzzled by that quote- I get that gratitude is “good,” and “proper,” but why “The highest form of thought?” I thought I would do a little research on gratitude, and this led to appreciation. I came to this:
I was glad I did the work, because I gained a new insight on why gratitude is so important. As we are able to come to a fuller or deeper understanding of the situation we are in, the more we can recognize the actual value in the things, ideas, and people around us.
Take for example, all that goes into parenting. Isn’t it interesting how the gifts a parent gives, are often not fully appreciated until we become parents ourselves? It is when we experience the sleepless nights, live the crazy schedule, and experience the infinite amount of love that goes into each moment shared with our new child, that we are able to appreciate that situation more fully. It is really from this point that we are able to enter into true appreciation, and we can experience a genuine feeling of gratitude. Some people have a wonderful ability to empathize and “jump” to appreciation by association, but not everyone makes this leap to gratitude, without the light of experience to show the way. Of course, the more we can see the light, and the more we love it, the more we are able to recognize other lights in the string, and then we can follow the lights up the path to joy.
But if for whatever reason, we are not able to fully comprehend or see the value in the people, ideas or things in our lives, then we won’t be capable of a true appreciation of them. If we go about our lives without this appreciation and gratitude, we will soon take people who really love us for granted, we will dismiss ideas that could actually be key in our understanding of life and our spiritual growth, and we will be wasteful or irresponsible with resources and tools that could have been a help and aid to us in the future. It makes me think about how many times I thought I understood things, and really didn’t. And it helps me begin to appreciate that there are other things in life, that are just like that. I think that as we try to live right and we are looking for the light, it won’t be long before we find that gleam of truth, shining and illuminating our thoughts and minds – pointing the way to truth, to goodness, to wonder, and to gratitude. Perhaps gratitude is the highest form of thought not because gratitude itself is so “high,” but because we would have to be highly educated or operating on an advanced level in order to truly understand and appreciate the world around us. Gratitude would be the joyful blossom flowering on a shining life of one whose life was ordered beautifully, and well.
-Father, lead us into joy; help us to open our hearts to goodness, to plant seeds of gratitude that will grow up from within and help us to truly see and appreciate the world around us! Give us eyes to see things as you see them – to appreciate what we have been given, and teach us how to be truly grateful. Thank you for all your sweet blessings – and we must thank your sweet hand for the sweet and the sour, for we know that you make all things work together for our good. Let these thoughts bring us peace, and help us enter into your joy. Let our spirits be reborn within us, that we may be filled again with wonder at your beauty and all the amazing gifts we have been given. Thank you most of all for giving us Your own self, for being a Father to us, and for leading us into the light, in to your truth, and in to life. What a wonderful and precious thought!
– Beth 🌸
But in this grey morn of man’s life,
Cometh sometime to the mind
A little light that leaps and flies,
Like a star blown on the wind.
Just a little flower, turning her face to find the sun. I don’t always feel his rays on me, but when I do, the warmth and the feeling is simply wonderful, and I never want to be in the shadows again. Isn’t he lovely?