Social media has almost soured my opinion of public sharing at this time of year. Not because I think sharing the things you're grateful for or thankful for, but because, like so many other good things in this world, it becomes a kind of competition, a spectator sport.
Real gratitude isn't spending a month (if that -- I suspect some people stop on Thanksgiving Day) counting your blessings. We should do that every day. It seems to me that honest gratitude is knowing and appreciating (as much as we can) what we have and not wanting more. It is to be happy with what we have but taking it even farther -- being honestly content because we know we don't deserve more. If my life is truly in order, what more could I possibly want?
Tonight at bedtime, I read the story of St. Kateri Tekakwitha to the boys. And as only Amy Welborn can, that story illustrated this kernel of what gratitude is. If you "put things in order" and know what's most important in life, honest gratitude naturally flows from the peace that comes with such order.
At the end of each story, Welborn has a short reflection question this one, in essence, asks what's most important in your life. Since my oldest was still awake, I asked him that question. His answer knocked my socks off. He said, "Well, uh, church."
Now, for a kid with autism and who fights going to Mass most of the time, I was a little incredulous (sorry!) so I said, "Church? Really?" And he said, "Yeah."
Now what more could a mother ask for? I know "church," the construct isn't what's most important, and I think my son does too. After all, I've been teaching him for years that church is God's house. He knows Jesus is "in the box." But of all the things this kid could have said, he said "church."
And that's close enough for this grateful mother.