gratitude and its friends

        Gratitude has a lot of friends.  Anger and its frozen cousin resentment aren't among them.  You can't be fully grateful until you're willing to let go of anger and resentment every time you spot them.  If you don't believe me, try it.  Think of somebody you're angry or resentful toward, and see how well thanksgiving melds with thoughts of him.  Not too well, right?  So you have a (wonderful) choice: you can hang on to your anger and resentment and let them grow and fester like soul cancer, or you can let thanksgiving wash them away.  Choosing thanksgiving over anger and resentment isn't for sissies.  It takes courage and perseverance, but the rewards of relief and good health are worth the price.  

        So here's the baby step: think of that same person you had in mind a few minutes ago, but this time think of him with gratitude.  This isn’t a pollyanna thing.  I'm not asking you to make believe he hasn’t hurt you or wronged you.  I’m asking you to dare to let go of it.  I’m asking you to treat him the way you wish he'd treat you.  I'm asking you to think about what it's like in his shoes.  Somewhere in him, though granted it may be well-hidden, is a person with hopes and fears and desires a lot like yours.  He used to be somebody’s little boy, too.  So dare to see him with compassion, and then you'll find that you can give thanks for him.  You can even give thanks for the chance he’s giving you to choose gratitude  That's when you'll begin to see the mysterious fruit of grateful living.  The person your anger and resentment had made two-dimensional starts to blossom.  He starts to become a whole person.  As you give thanks for him, compassion grows and, miracle of miracles, your heart changes.  The grand surprise is that, in freely giving thanks for him, you find yourself free.