“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus
The preacher placed two identical, porcelain jars on the table next to the pulpit. “These jars came from the same factory, were made of the same materials, and can hold the same amount, but they are different,” she explained.
Then she upset one and it oozed out honey. She turned over the other, and vinegar spilled out. “When a jar is upset, whatever is in it comes out.” Until the jars were overturned, they looked alike. The difference was within and could not be seen. When they were upset, their contents were revealed.
Until we are upset, we put on a good front. When “the plan” is unfolding as it “should,” we follow our path, and we’re cool. But when we are upset, agitated, angry, disappointed, sick, we reveal many of our innermost thoughts and attitudes. When “our plan” is interrupted, that’s when our true belief system kicks in. When our emotions are such that we’re too preoccupied to maintain the facade that our culture demands, we express our core belief system.
As with our jars, when we’re upset…when we’re not in control of the situation, our contents spill out. What happens when circumstances tip you over? What flows out?
Do you reveal the “vinegar” of anger, or fear, or sarcasm, defensiveness? Or do you reveal the “honey” of grace and patience and overwhelming gratitude for all there is, for all you’ve had, and for all that will be?
Placing the filter of gratitude on what we see and experience isn’t Pollyanna-ish, it’s being realistic. It says, “I’m alive, therefore I have the power to appreciate this, or do something about it, should I need to.”
Gratitude is a great mind magnet, since what we focus on and give energy to in our thoughts expands in our lives…as we are grateful…whatever we are grateful for becomes more plentiful in our lives.
Focus on vinegar – get more vinegar. Focus on honey – get more honey.
The grateful heart draws to itself great things. The ungrateful heart, the discouraged, complaining, resentful level of thought, will draw to itself limited things.
As we are appreciative and express appreciation, we attract more of what it is we are appreciative of.
“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals. If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.” Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Our time on earth is made up of moments, each one special. We weave together precious strands of time to create the fabric of our living. It is a miraculous journey we all share, this tapestry of human experience, for it is rich with the priceless offerings of relationships with all that we encounter.
We have choices. We can see the honey or we can see the vinegar. Gratitude does not deny the existence of vinegar, it just shifts the focus to honey.
Being gratefully aware of it all is the silken thread linking us to the finest miracle – the very privilege of being alive. Never forget, this journey is far too brief and fragile to let moments go by without acknowledging the wondrous gift we have been given.
The next time your contents spill out, let it be a flow of gratitude. Gratitude that you are alive and are able to choose your response.
“Life and all it contains is totally gratuitous, 100% gift. I didn’t bring myself into existence, nor is it I who keep myself going. I’m merely the recipient of this awesome gift. I didn’t create the molecules of air I breathe in, nor the photons of light that strike my eye. It’s all gift.” Father Ronald Stanley, a Catholic priest associated with Rutgers University