More from Your Spiritual Coach

- What If You're Not Thankful?

Want more? For resources including daily reminders, group projects, discussion questions, and film and book suggestions, visit the Gratitude section of Spirituality & Practice.


The Gratitude Glass

To remind us of what is "pleasing"

Written By Renée Miller

When grabbed from inside by feelings of deficiency and the gnawing desire to possess something more…more beauty or wealth, good fortune or ability…it is almost impossible to be joyful, claim contentment or share selflessly. There’s one thing that will reverse our ingrown negativity—gratitude. Gratitude assures us that we have enough—enough security, possessions, resources, time, grace, money, food, drink. Gratitude helps us see the movement from pain to joy and the movement from joy to pain. Grateful people are happy people, even when they seem to have less than others.

The hidden word inside gratitude is gratus—which simply means “pleasing.” Those who are grateful see what is pleasing in their lives. When life brims with people and situations that please us, our heart is light, our speech is energetic, our demeanor is buoyant. The minor annoyances of life seem to lose importance when we focus on what is bringing us joy and pleasing us.

When life hands us people and situations that don’t please us, our heart is fearful, our speech is somber, our demeanor is droopy. Fear, greed, and stinginess begin to steal our joy. Yet, gratitude still sits nearby ready to be embraced. In the moment we reach out for it, joy begins to return and we find there’s more that’s pleasing in our lives than we had thought. We suddenly feel like we’ve just been strapped into our favorite carnival ride and have suddenly forgotten how long we had to wait in line to purchase our tickets. Just try being grateful and see if your soul doesn’t fly carefree through the air.

Tip to try: Fill a Gratitude Glass

  • Choose a special glass and designate it as your gratitude glass. Place it in a prominent place in your home.
  • Place a small pitcher of water next to it.
  • Every time you feel gratitude welling up in you, add a little water to the glass.
  • Every time your heart is heavy, ask God to show you one thing that is pleasing in your life and add a little water to the glass for that one thing.
  • When the glass is full, pour it on a plant that is thirsty for life. The plant will perk up in gratitude for the gift it has been given.

Copyright ©2007 Renée Miller