The Gift of Today—Lessons from a Monk

The older I get, the more I believe that gratitude is the answer to almost every problem we face. It can transform anxiety, anger, and depression.

It may not change our circumstances—though it often does—but it can change us. And isn’t that really the purpose of this journey we call “life”?

My daughter Marissa recently shared a video with me that I want to share with you. It is as beautiful as it is profound. It is well-worth your time to watch it.

I particularly loved this quote from Brother David Steindl-Rast, a benedictine monk, and the one speaking on the video:

You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you today…. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness.

Maybe we would get this if we saw today as the first day of our life—or our last.

Here are four ways you can transform today, taking it from ordinary to extraordinary:

  1. Notice the gifts around you. Whether it is the natural beauty that surrounds you, the interesting people you encounter, or the simple beating of your heart, everything is a miracle—if you have eyes to see it.
  2. Open your heart to receive them. It’s so easy to feel entitled and become cynical when we don’t get what we want or feel we deserve. But if we receive everything as a gift, designed for either our enjoyment, our transformation, or both, we open ourselves to new possibilities.
  3. Express your gratitude for them. This is one of the things that makes humans unique and sets us apart from the animals. But we have to speak it to experience the power of it.
  4. Bless someone else. Let your gratefulness overflow into the lives of those you encounter today. It doesn’t have to be fancy—just offer them a smile, a touch, or the simple gift of your presence. (You could also share this post with them!)

Today will never be repeated. It it is unique among all the days of your life. Gratitude can transform into something to be remembered.

Note: If you want to explore gratitude further, read Ann Voskamp’s excellent book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

Question: What are you thankful for today? Share your answer on , , or .

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