Musing to Discovery

This morning poking around for inspiration Icame across the following dictionary definitions for “gratitude”:

– a feeling of thankfulness, appreciation, admiration, approval or gratefulness

– warm and friendly acknowledgment of a benefit one has received or will receive

– kindness awakened by a favor received; thankfulness

– sensitive awareness and recognition of aesthetic values

Then my surfing to be inspired brought me to the root of the English word ‘gratitude’. Its origin is in the Latin word ‘gratis’ or ‘gratus’. 

As I read further something very interesting came my way. ‘Gratis/gratus’ is also the origin of the French word ‘gracier’  which was adapted to become the English word ‘grace’. Literal definitions of ‘grace’ are:  kindliness, love, mercy and elegance; beauty of form, manner, motion, or action; pleasing quality or favor.  Sounds exactly like a sense of gratefulness!

I found it surprisingly meaningful that the words gratitude and grace have the same origin and are essentially parts of the same emotion. That makes perfect sense! As I have focused on gratefulness and my awareness has grown for all I have to be thankful for, a sense of “grace” arrived with it.

My discovery can be stated simply: a life filled with grace comes from a foundation of gratefulness. Religion frequently connects the two words together, but I had never considered how in a secular sense gratitude and grace are interwoven.

Focusing on what I am grateful for and spending time writing about it daily for fifteen months has been a life changer; more so than I could have ever imagined when I began this blog. Previously I perceived my life as probably about a “6” on a “10” scale and today can tell you without hesitation I’d rate living around at an “8.0” or better. There are moments from time to time I’d rate at a 10 plus!

My life is far from perfect. While my work in recovery from dysfunctions like codependence, depression and compulsion has brought me to a generally happy state of being, there are still challenges and difficult times. What has changed is my ability to deal with those moments and how long they last. I believe that capacity comes directly from the state of ‘grace’ that sprouted purely from growing gratefulness within.

Grace is the central invitation to life and the final word.
It’s the beckoning nudge and the overwhelming,
undeserved mercy that urges us to change and grow,
and then gives us the power to pull it off.
Tim Hansel