Steven Charleston: Gratitude, Acceptance, Peace

“Be glad today for the many small graces that line the path of our lives like flowers. Be open to the surprises that may come and alert to the quiet messages whispered on the wind. Be creative in how you shape your life in these few hours for every day is a blank canvas. Be a blessing to others as the night draws near and let your evening prayers keep them safe until you awake again.” —Steven Charleston, Daily Facebook page.

Ann’s garden

Ann’s garden

Every day we have choices. First, we can obsess over the past, what we have lost, mistakes we have made. Second, we can obsess over the future, what we will lose, especially as we age or fall into new mistakes. The past and the potential future become our “gods, taking up rent in our heads”—consuming all our time and energy. Our mind keeps racing faster to make plans and find solutions.

Our third choice is living consciously, moment by moment, in the now. We can enjoy, treasure, give thanks for the gifts of each day, what comes to us in each present moment. This involves a great deal of awareness of our surroundings and of our relationships, enlarging our worldview, getting “out of ourselves.” The challenge is not to forget the mistakes we have made, but to learn from them so that we can make them less frequently in the future.

Acceptance of ourselves as works in progress, not works seeking perfection is huge. Acceptance that there is a power greater than ourselves caring for us is “huger.” I daily talk with people who were upset about plans that were not going their way, only to become thankful later, because “their plan” would have been destructive.

I think of old boyfriends I obsessed about who ignored me as a teenager. I realize today that my life would have been a disaster with any of them. I think of people who came and continue to come into my life to change its direction when I am going the wrong way. I think of people who cared for our children when we couldn’t or were not the ones they needed at the time.

As we age, we may find ourselves filled with anxiety from contemplating deterioration of health, the death of a spouse, or living on a fixed income. There are so many uncertainties.

We do have a part to play in overcoming this. We need to do our best to keep ourselves healthy through diet and exercise and proper medical care. But then our best response should be to wake up each morning with gratitude for the gifts of another day together.

Acceptance and gratitude are our cornerstones, the major building blocks to peace and serenity. I am writing this so I will continue to believe it.


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Just in time for the holidays

A Spiritual Rx for Advent Christmas, and Epiphany

The Sequel to A Spiritual Rx for Lent and Easter

Both are $18

All Money from sale of the books goes either to Camp Mitchel Camp and Conference Center in Arkansas or Hurricane Relief in the Diocese of Central Gulf Coast