This is a guest post by Joe Paprocki.
It’s so easy to be annoyed by the little things. How hard can it be, then, to allow ourselves to be thankful for the little things? This morning, I was on the verge of being completely annoyed by the traffic that made me miss my usual train. Instead, realizing that I was now “early” for the next train, I strolled at a leisurely pace from my parking spot to the train station. I took the time to appreciate the blue skies, the budding trees, the chirping birds, and the cool but warming breeze of spring. Paying attention to and being thankful for these “little” things effectively boxed out the annoyance of missing my usual train that wanted so desperately to win me over and to influence my day.
Gratitude is not fluff. It is serious medicine—an effective antidote to the poisons of annoyance, exasperation, and cynicism that vie for our attention. The positive little things that we can be thankful for each day are no less real than the negative little things that annoy us. They simply don’t clamor as loudly as the negative things do. We need to develop a capability for recognizing the subtle little things for which we are grateful and allow them to use their inherent power to overwhelm the negative. Take a moment to look around (and within) you: what little things are you grateful for at this very moment?
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press. He has more than 30 years of experience in ministry and has taught at many different levels. He is the author of numerous books, including the bestseller The Catechist’s Toolbox and Under the Influence of Jesus. His newest book is The Catechist’s Backpack, co-authored with Julianne Stanz.