Not everyone feels the need to express
their grief as openly as we have encouraged in this book. My Granny,
a widow for over half a century, took Alfred Lord Tennyson’s words
and made them her own: “Tis better to have loved and lost than
never to have loved.” In her own case, she remained profoundly
grateful for the life she had so briefly enjoyed with her husband –
not to mention the son she bore him, and the son whom he then
fathered – that’s me, folks!
We saw earlier that the longer and
louder we complain, the more we risk becoming inwardly bitter and
externally isolated. I referred earlier to Joss Ackland’s comment
that not a day passes without providing him with opportunities to
grieve. Let’s put that the other way round: not a single day passes
without providing many opportunities to express our gratitude.
Many of us only fully appreciate
things (or people) after we have lost them. As this dawned on the
French authoress, Colette, she exclaimed, “What a wonderful life
I’ve had. I only wish I’d realised it sooner!”
During one prolonged period of grief,
we went through many years ago, when pressures were piling in
against us from all angles, we resolved to count our blessings, six
by six. We kept a “Book of Gratitudes” jotting down at least half a
dozen things each day to be grateful for. There was never any
I am not speaking here of
life-changing experiences or world-shaking events, but simply of
acknowledging the Lord’s daily grace and goodness. A tasty meal, an
inspiring film or television programme, a fresh insight, a startling
sunset or a beautiful view. Thanking God helps us to realise just
how much He is doing, even if the particular issue we are most
concerned about still appears no closer to resolution.
Too often we leave the two-edged
Sword of Praise hanging on the wall, more like an ornament than an
integral part of our spiritual armour. It takes love as well as
courage to take it out of its scabbard and to affirm that God knows
precisely what He is doing. Thanksgiving is both joy to the soul and
a weapon to be used against our doubts.
Reflect and Pray
Lord, forgive me that I default so quickly to grumbling.
Cultivate this spirit of praise and gratitude in me,
for it will keep me from despondency –
and others will catch the uplift that it brings.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ian Britton. freefoto.com