Who Wants To Say Grace?
by Micaela Hollett
How many times have you heard this question and then decided to sink back into your chair, trying to get as unnoticeable as possible? I know I have been there. Sometimes it can be awkward to say “grace,” not only at the dining room table, but also in real life.
The concept of saying “grace” is most notably recognized as a practice before meals. Sometimes it can be heartfelt, and other times it can be more mechanical, and ritualistic. No matter how you say it, grace doesn’t have to be limited to family dinnertime, or at the restaurant while your server is awkwardly waiting for you to finish prayingto put your ketchup bottle down on the table. What would life be like if we were constantly saying “grace?”
Imagine instead of immediately resorting to complaining, or focusing on the negative in life what it would be like to focus on literally anything else! I immediately think of my college roommate, Jill, as an example of this. One day while working at her desk she spilled her entire water bottle on her very nice laptop. If that were me at the time I would have FREAKED out! Not Jill. She got a towel, started drying off her computer, and immediately said, “thank you God that I have this computer, and if it doesn’t work anymore after this, I really appreciate that I was lucky enough to have one in the first place.” (I am paraphrasing from my memory of course). My other roommates and I were taken aback, and just in awe and inspired by her quick response to say “grace” instead of panic. In case you’re wondering, her computer ended up working perfectly normal after that, which none of us could believe with how much water fell on it!
Noticing the negative comes so naturally; here are some ideas on how to start focusing on what you are thankful for. I personally love the challenge of writing five things down each day that you are thankful for. Sometimes, on the worst of days this can be super challenging. I remember once I had a day when everything just flat out sucked, my list looked like this.
1. I am alive
2. I ate today
3. I wore clothes
4. I have a roof over my head
5. I have people around me who love me
I was only able to acknowledge my thankfulness for these basic human needs. By the time I finished writing them down I realized that even though that day sucked, I still had it really good. Not everyone would have had a list like mine. Other days were much more happy and easy to write.
1. I had the best dance party with friends
2. Someone surprised me with tacos
3. Jill cleared all the snow off my car so I didn’t have to before I left for work
4. Joshua texted me plans to hang out tomorrow (before we were dating when I was crushing hard!)
5. My hair worked with me today and looked super cute
Seriously, you will be surprised how much more than five things you will be thankful for each day! Please don’t feel like you have to stop at five. For one, this practice is for you to do so no one is going to know that you did more than five. Also, the more blessings you acknowledge in your life, the less you will focus on occurrences like locking your keys inside your car, or forgetting to buy cocoa powder while you are mid baking a cake. Instead you can enjoy life because most of what we worry about doesn’t get fixed from stressing out about it.
Another great practice is to list what you are thankful for about each person in your life; especially people who piss you off the most. I LOVE the quote from Dorothy Day that says, “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” What a powerful and profound realization! I promise you, the more love you recognize for each person you interact with, the more fun and peaceful your life is going to be.
No matter what happens, be the type of person who powerfully focuses on enjoying your life. Our time on this earth is short, and we are all here for a reason. Don’t waste any of your time miserable over something you can’t even change. Instead, burst out of your figurative seat at your figurative dining room table and proudly declare, “I will say grace!” Then do just that, look at all areas of your life, and say “grace.”