How Happy Are We?

Do you remember the story of the two men who were walking through a pasture and spotted an enraged bull? They instantly darted toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it in time. Terrified, one shouted to the other, “Can you pray, John? We’re not going to make it!”
John answered, “I don’t know how to pray.”

“You have to!” panted his companion. “The bull is catching up to us.”

“All right,” agreed John, Then he prayed the only prayer he knew, one he had heard his father pray often at the dinner table: ‘O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.'”

Not a bad prayer, actually, at least in other circumstances. And not a bad attitude about life. But even as important as being truly thankful, it is necessary to act truly thankful.

Italian actor, director, singer-songwriter and poet Roberto Benigni believes in the importance of acting thankful. Benigni won the 1998 Academy Award for best actor for his performance in the film “Life Is Beautiful.” In his joy at receiving the honor, he actually danced over the tops of chairs and leaped up on stage, applauding the audience. The effusive Benigni believes that it’s a sign of mediocrity when one demonstrates gratitude with moderation. And he is anything but moderate when showing gratitude.

How are you at showing your gratitude? Most of us are not as demonstrative as Benigni, but acting truly thankful can actually help us feel more grateful. 

William Arthur Ward said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” Who would wrap a present and not give it? And once the present is given, how do you feel? The truth is…the more we express our gratitude, the happier we are. For it isn’t happiness that makes us grateful, but gratitude that makes us happy. 

How happy do you want to be?

And so, we pray: Lord help me to be truly happy by being truly thankful. Amen.

Grace and Peace

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