I began making gratefulness lists in my twenties. I was a college student living in a basement apartment in a large home owned by missionaries to India. I remember Vivianna, a statuesque, former model sharing her gratefulness list with me. It was several pages, poetic and done in multiple colors of pens. I immediately excused it as completely inane and silly. Maybe something only missionaries did. Which was probably why I wasn’t one.
But then one night I tried it. I remember struggling to come up with five items. As the days went one I kept adding to the list until I had reached twenty and then fifty items that proved I wasn’t completely doomed. Proof that my life was actually going ok and was manageable. I was on a roll and it was a couple of days later I realized something had shifted in my head. Instead of focusing on the turmoil around me, I was treasure hunting for the good.
It took a few years of practice to realize the good was searching for me, but that is another story. If there is magic or a secret to happiness and longevity–it is to focus on the good, the wonderful, and the lovely. To consider the provision that is worked out in your life hundreds of times in a year. The good is looking for you. You just need to open your eyes and look away from the hopelessness of a world gone temporarily insane. If you start to worry, grumble or think something is impossible. Get out the pen and paper and begin. It may feel silly or awkward and a struggle to find your stride at first, but keep going. Let me know what happens. I’ll be praying for the magic.