Well today marks All Saints Day in the Catholic Liturgical calendar, otherwise known as All Hallows Day (hence October 31st being All Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween). In the old days, Halloween was the last day to get your drink-on, snack-on, debauchery-on, before the sanctified period of Advent began, which kicked off with All Saints Day.
I grew up Methodist, converted to Agnostic as a college nerd, elevated to Catholic as a young man, and finally arrived at Vanilla Run-O-The-Mill Basic Christian as a wiser, not-so-young 40-something man. Jesus told us all to KISS and make up (Keep It Simple Stupid) when revealing to the Pharisees in the Temple that the Greatest Commandment above all was to Love your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. That I get. That I can manage. I’ve moved on from church dogma and rituals (although I do love and respect all ancient Christian traditions, of all denominations). These days, I’m a saint by name only. But, I strive to continually improve that which is within my purview. And I take it one day at a time.
As of late, I have found my gratitude lacking. There has been a lot of defensiveness on my part, along with a lot of projection as to the source of my misery. When I felt lost and dejected as a young man, I found tremendous comfort and solace in motivational/inspirational books. Recently, on a trip to our town library with my youngest bonus-girls (step-daughters), I found myself back in the Self-Help aisle, once again perusing words of wisdom in hopes of self-assessing my torment and self-prescribing my cure (I do have a penchant for the melodramatic). This go-around I would also self-medicate my pain, with more thinking and less drinking.
Well, test results are in: I’m self-absorbed, self-important, and ungrateful, lacking proper perspective and compassion (Ouch. That hurt.)...The cure: going forward, don’t be such a douche. Life is damn near impossible without a very healthy and active Attitude of Gratitude. I have decided to take this All Saints Day, a day of reverence and renewal in the Ancient Church, to begin anew with gratefulness at the front and center of everything I do. The goal is to log in once per day to my new “BLAHHH-G” (because nobody will read this drivel except my mother and my wife, which I’m cool with...), and share in 500 words OR LESS what I’m grateful for. Easier said than done; nonetheless, a great lesson in temperance, humility, patience, diligence, love...and gratitude.
“Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation. You do not find it among gross people.”
- Dr. Samuel Johnson