At this precise moment, do you feel grateful? The answer doesn’t have to be “yes.” It’s perfectly reasonable to feel dispirited by not being able to see family and friends because of COVID-19. It’s okay to state forcefully that online learning is challenging for students and teachers; and feeling that it would be a good thing to give someone more than a virtual hug or an elbow bump simply shows that we’re human and need human contact. Give yourself permission to feel ungrateful about specific events and situations. That’s very different from letting an attitude of ingratitude define your life. We can’t understand light without understanding the concept of darkness. If we never acknowledge things are bad, sad or difficult, we can’t truly appreciate the moments when truth, beauty and goodness enter our lives. Being able to feel an appropriate lack of gratitude is the flipside of a grateful heart!
By Karen Rose, OSB