I recall vividly just like it was yesterday when we chorused “happy new year” and well wishes for the new year. Now, we start the countdown to the end of the year 2017.
How has your year been? Productive or maybe not?
Whatever the case, I have learned how important it is to be grateful for every breathing second. Two years ago, I challenged myself in the month of October to write a daily gratitude journal which would be publicly shared for twenty-nine days. I did that at a time when I felt that I had hit my “rock bottom” and the world around me was crumbling at my feet.
Through this experience, I learnt the power of gratitude: it unlocks great blessings, leaves you happier and more fulfilled and attracts positive situations in your life.
I am pro-gratitude these days. I spend the first few minutes of my waking moments excitedly listing at least ten reasons why I am grateful to see a new day.
Are you searching for reasons to be thankful? In this post, I share some excerpts from my 2017 October gratitude journal and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
- New beginnings: I have made mistakes, gained and lost possessions. Regardless, God has never given up on me. He loves me and each new second, minute, day, week, month and year is an opportunity for a fresh start. Admittedly, each day comes with its peculiarities, challenges, and blessings but it is precisely what it is – a gift. I realise that “crushed flowers produce the best perfume”, so I try not to dwell too much on the past but direct my energy to make the most of the present.
- Family and friends: Someone rightly said that “of all the beautiful gifts of life, the greatest is family”. I am grateful to have a family where God is supreme, love is a language that is freely spoken, and though we are worlds apart physically, we are more closely bonded together in unity. I could not have asked for anything better! By nature, I am an introvert, but I have been thoroughly blessed with the most amazing people in my social circles. I do not believe that God has created us to live in isolation. He has created people ahead of us to guide us, so we do not make avoidable mistakes and people behind us so that they can show us the way (isn’t that beautiful?). It was Emerson who said, “every man is my superior in one thing, in that I learn of him”.
- Growth: The “Pearl” you knew yesterday and the “Pearl” you see today are two different persons. It is simple logic: I am still actively growing – consciously, super-exponentially and in every ramification! In my perspective, success is never a destination but a journey. Daily, I take baby steps on this journey; I see a refined, reinvented and better version of myself each new day. I am work-in-progress! I am grateful for this. The journey to where I am currently has involved a lot of “stretching”. The rubber band is such a versatile object. It can be put to various uses – but only when stretched. I have been pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed…. stretched yet I stand valiantly. Every “stretching” (aka stress) I have gone through has helped discover a better version of myself.
- The Bad and the Ugly: First, I am a human being and like everyone else (I figure), I have my “good” days and “character-building” days. I am grateful for every closed door, missed opportunity, wrong decision, failed plan…and everything terrible. They have primed me. I do not believe in luck; luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I believe in a God who carefully orders my steps, and though I may not understand all His moves, I can be confident in His unfailing love.
- Details: As I study Molecular and Cell Biology of life, I cannot help but notice how articulate our God is. Every process is so beautifully planned, it could take more than a lifetime to comprehend the complexities fully – these could never have happened by chance. A God who “numbers” even the strands of my hair and calls the stars, despite how numerous they are, by name. Do I need to worry about a thing? I know that God has all the details figured out. I only must trust him one move at a time. I would not say that I have accomplished so much, at least not yet, but I realize that for the little that I have accomplished so far God has carefully charted my course. I am indeed grateful for timely, divine assistance.
- Music and Books: For me, music is not just a pleasant arrangement of sounds (and words) – it is life!! I can barely get on a day without some musical spice. Books are my favourite objects ever! They are rich storehouses of ordered, useful information. Through books, I have learned from the best minds in the world and gained great insight. I believe one of the most significant ways to impact on people is through writing! I am grateful to those who have taken the initiative to document their thoughts for posterity. I am grateful for the beautiful men and women that God has raised to bless my soul.
- Smile: Recently, someone told me that I had a “million-dollar” smile. Whatever that means, I am grateful for the little act: the shortest distance between two people, the most beautiful facial expression ever, the most potent makeup ever. I am thankful for the smiles I have been able to give and those who have blessed my days with their pleasant smiles.
- “Press On”: This has been my slogan in the past year. Life really gets so rough a times, you know. There are those days where giving gratitude is a real challenge. These days do not last for long. Naturally, I have always loved to play things safe but recently, I have taken majors risks and God has blessed my faith tremendously. The statement “Sometimes, you have to risk it all for a dream only you can see” resonates so deeply with me. Like Les Brown says, “you can never get out of life alive”. I am grateful forever risk I have ventured – both the calculated and “uncalculated” (whatever that means) ones because I can put all my eggs in God’s basket and be sure of safety. “Tough times never last, only tough people do”. These tough times that made me realize how blessed I am to have good times.
- “Knee-engine”: Strange word, huh? Don’t even bother searching on google because I coined that word (I should win a Nobel prize for that, you know…. Teehee). I use that term for lack of a better word to describe the depth of heartfelt commune with God in the place of prayer. That moment when you resolve “I would not let you go till you bless me, Lord”. I am grateful that my God, though big enough to govern the universe, is small enough to live in my heart. When I cry out to him, he hears my call…. He comforts me. I cannot say this enough, but I am God’s biggest deal!
- No words: There are times when it seems that there are no appropriate words to express ourselves both verbally and in writing – and I have those awkward moments a lot. It is profound to find someone who understands my silence as much as my words. I am grateful to my Friend and Intercessor, Jesus Christ who understands the complexities of my emotions – and has himself experienced the full complement of human emotions. This makes me have so much more confidence in Him – and when He says He loves me dearly, I have no doubts.
Categories: My PhD Experience