Gratitude for the Vastness of Our Blessings

Gratitude-Thank-You-Sand-WritingLast year about this time my wife and I saw the movie, Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg. November 19 is the 151st anniversary of the Gettysburg Address (1863). Watching this excellent portrayal, I was struck by the enormous sacrifice millions of people made for the sake of freedom and human dignity, all mixed in with various flavors of self interest.

I know a fair amount about the Civil War but had not really connected with a profound appreciation for the people of that time. I hadn’t taken the time to deeply contemplate the pressures Lincoln faced, or the depth of forbearance, courage, wisdom, and compassion he must have had to endure and accomplish his goals. This movie, even though it is “only” a movie, made it easy to appreciate the intensity of the struggle for the whole nation and amongst the lawmakers on every side of the issue of slavery, states rights, and democracy. As a friend of mine clarified, “If it does all that, it is not just a movie, but a work of art.”

After seeing the horrible strife and destruction this movie portrayed, I marvel that anything at all was left of the nation after the Civil War. It is truly a miracle that, in the wake of it all, the people’s desire for democracy and the rule of law as set down in the Constitution survived, and that those who were so bitter in defeat somehow managed to turn towards reconstruction, coarse and crude though it would be.

The movie made me appreciate the vastness of benefit that has come down to me, not just from Civil War times, but through the ages in countless ways and as a result of the tremendous sacrifices made by others. Sometimes gratitude takes on a particular intensity, and for me this was one of those times.

I hope you find time to be still and open your own heart to the vastness of blessings that come to you every moment, every day in the guise of both “good” and “bad circumstance. May we continue to deepen our capacity to be compassionate, to have gratitude, to be wise and courageous. May we always give thanks because we remain acutely aware of our blessings.

Good luck!

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