The Gratitude Perspective


As we close out the month of Thanksgiving, all of us have battled through difficult circumstances at one time or another. These events are different for all of us: the loss of a job, health concerns, financial insecurity, family struggles, grief. In the midst of these times, we feel anything but grateful. However, gratitude is more than a feeling.  It is a shift of perspective through which we can view our world and everything in it. In our darkest moments, gratitude can usher in the light of hope we so desperately need.

The Gratitude Journal

Patty and Clive Ollies discovered this truth after Clive was diagnosed with cancer. They started to write a gratitude journal. Each day, they stared down the blank page and took time to list the things they were thankful for. Some days it was nearly impossible to find something to write, but they did it together anyway. Throughout two years of radiation, chemotherapy, and recovery, they mindfully searched for the best of each day. “It was a really good exercise for us,” Patty recalls. “We had two very rich years together as a family and as a couple. We lived in hope.”

I Found Profound Things to be Thankful for

By specifically cultivating a grateful perspective, the Ollies discovered a deep, abiding hope that helped them cope with Clive’s illness. “The time that we spent on it [the gratitude journal] gave us both strength. It was the gratitude journal and the positive attitude it seemed to cultivate that nurtured my soul during those two years. It wasn’t just that I became aware of simple things to be grateful for, but it was also the fact that I found so many profound things for which I could be deeply thankful to God.”[1]

Gratitude unlocks glimpses of joy, compassion, strength, and blessing in our lives when we least expect them, and it helps us cope and build hope together.

How has finding gratitude helped you through difficult circumstances?

[1] The Ollies’ story initially appeared in Abundance Canada’s publication Living Life Backwards.

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