I Need A Good Year (Gratitude Pt. 2)
My sister gave me a little book for Christmas. It was a good gift, a great gift actually. It's titled Q&A a Day (5 Year Journal). Each page asks a question about your life. There are five regions on each page. Over the course of five years, you re-answer each question each year to see how you grow. I love it.
December 31 - The question is: What is your most cherished memory of this year?
I clicked my pen. The ball of it touched the paper, ten seconds passed, and my hand wouldn't move. I couldn't think of a cherished memory, not one, that illuminated in any particular way the place in my chest that I would normally expect to light up when thinking about a cherished memory. That's not right, I thought. This was a good year, right? I grew. I changed. I loved, laughed, and lived, like every middle class suburban bathroom wall says a happy person does. So how is it that I struggled to think of a single cherished memory this morning? Perhaps I put too much pressure on the assignment. Maybe I got tripped up by the word most. But still. Not one? Not one memory comes to mind?
There's a quote I wish I could find, but I'll paraphrase in lieu. A man is not happy according to what he has, but rather what he enjoys. Gratitude, right? I mean, if it was all about what we had, everybody rich enough to own a computer and read this would be immeasurably happy. The average among us today live in more luxury than most Kings of history. But we aren't all happy, are we? So happiness is a lot more like a posture of the heart than an attainment. Happiness is more of a perspective than a reality.
I can think of a litany of things that happened this year that were objectively good. I traveled to beautiful places, spent time with people I love, made new friends, was praised for my talents, ate good meals, and drank good wine. On paper, this year was good. So why can I not think of a cherished memory? I thought I would ask God. So I did. As far as I can tell this is what he had to say about it:
I'm glad you asked. Only I can give you a heart that appreciates what it has. You are prone to wanting more. What you do not realize is that the more you have, the more grief you will feel without a heart of gratitude. Your unhappiness will confuse you. Your troubles will multiply with your wealth. What you don't understand is that you need nothing other than a new heart. I have just been waiting for you to ask me for it.
Seems obvious. I need a good year. The last five have been heavy. I have had fleeting moments of bliss, but really nothing substantial or lasting. I need a good year, like a need water. This time next year, I hope to reflect back on 365 days of deep gratitude. I plan to look back and feel a warm electrical current in my chest reminding me of small insignificant moments that were made to feel like heaven through the magic of gratitude. That magic is made possible by a new heart. All anyone has to do is ask for it. Not work for it. No purchase necessary.
Let me know what your most cherished memory was this year. If like me, you don't have one, send me an email so I can encourage you. Happy New Year!