Interfaithfully: Gratitude is an attitude
By Joseph Santhosh | special to the Courier
Gratitude is not just a “feeling,” but is the constant attitude of thankfulness and appreciation of life. Though there is so much to be grateful for, gratitude may not always come naturally to us. Sometimes we need to adjust our outlook on the situation we’re in.
I lost my father a few weeks ago. I flew to Chicago to be with him in his last few days and he died in my arms. When reflecting on his life, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of appreciation for the years I’ve had with him, our shared experiences, and the lessons I’ve learned from him. Instead of slipping into grief for having lost my father, I made the decision to celebrate his life.
Gratitude is an attitude, something we can work on. It is hard for us to feel happy if we are never satisfied; there is always a bigger house or a better car. Life could always be better than it is now.
When I feel myself slipping into the vortex of dissatisfaction, I try to look at life through the eyes of my 6 year-old son. He always manages to see the beauty in life, no matter the situation. For example, when he dropped his ice cream onto the sidewalk, his eyes teared up, but he gave me a watery smile and said, “The ants can have a good treat!”
Sometimes life can feel bleak, like everything and everyone is working against you. Trying to practice gratitude in times like these can be hard. However, it is during these very times that gratitude is most important. The sense of hope and joy that can arise from the deliberate practice of gratitude is unmatched. When we decide to focus on what’s working for us in this moment, life gets better.
Claremont is a place of great beauty, nestled under the magnificent San Gabriel Mountains. I suggest a quick drive up the mountains whenever we want to remind ourselves of how small we are. When we are surrounded by such natural beauty, we can forget the thousands of things we don’t have.
We can feel gratitude when we live in the moment and are open to the abundance of beauty and love around and within each of us.
Joseph Santhosh is Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church’s representative to the Claremont Interfaith Council.