Setting the table of your life with gratitude

Picture ©Glowimages

Picture ©Glowimages

My mom took such joy in Thanksgiving.  She especially enjoyed setting the table – laying out the china, flatware, goblets and cloth napkins that were used only on special occasions.  And there was always a beautiful centerpiece.

I remember a political commentator using the phrase “set the table” to refer to political campaigns establishing their strategy as they get ready for the upcoming primaries.  It’s a good phrase for all of us to think about.  How do you prepare for special occasions, your workday, or just every day?  How do you “set the table” of your life?

Gratitude is a great way to “set the table”.  Psychology professor Robert Emmons of the University of California would concur.  According to Emmons, gratitude is not just a happy emotion; it can improve one’s health.  His research shows that individuals who kept a gratitude journal reported fewer physical symptoms of illness than those who did not.

This is not surprising to me.  For years I have found gratitude to not only benefit my mental well-being, but also to heal illness.  I had a friend who used to say, “When you are not feeling well, consider what you have to be grateful for.”  While family and friends may naturally come first on many people’s list, my friend encouraged me to specifically express gratitude for God and His unconditional love.  She knew that would make my gratitude even more effective in terms of health benefits, and she was right.

For instance, one day I was extremely ill at work – fatigued, nauseous and suffering from a headache.  I remembered my friend’s advice, and began giving thanks to God for His love and care.  Immediately I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.  The pain subsided, and as I continued being thankful, the symptoms left.  I felt energized. Healing may not always be this quick, but this time it was.

Even during the most difficult situations, the Pilgrims showed the importance of gratitude by expressing thanks to God for the blessings they received – a tradition we continue hundreds of years later. The Bible states, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (II Cor. 9: 15).  To me, that gift is the immediate presence of divine Love’s protecting and healing power.  Thankfulness for that is a beautiful centerpiece with which to “set the table of our lives”.

©2015 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois

This entry was posted in Notes from Thomas Mitchinson, Prayer, spiritual healing, Spirituality, Tim Mitchinson and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Setting the table of your life with gratitude

  1. B.J. says:

    Thanks, Tim — and a Happy Thanksgiving to you, Bonnie and the family!

  2. margaret powell says:

    appreciate your inclusive tone; gratitude is for everyone. A lovely way to start the thanksgiving holiday.

  3. Sandi says:

    Moving thought from gratitude for things, to gratitude to and for the source of all good makes sense. Expressing gratitude also reminds us that we are loved, which is pretty important too.

  4. Rob Scott says:

    I grew up with a beautifully decorated table for the holidays but there was a seeming lack of love around it. The material things were more important than the children.

    I recently fell on hard times after the recession and was taken in by a woman who was full of love. She told me her mother never really taught her how to decorate but taught her love. She stated she had the love which she demonstrated by offering what she had and grabbed me and hugged me when I needed it the most. Perhaps she was an angel entertained unaware as I met her at a Masonic Memorial Service after the passing of my surrogate dad who was a student of Christian Science and my only family. I spoke for 8 minutes about our love for each other and Christian Science.

    I also then moved to another home where a woman offered me to stay in her house which is empty and for sale. There is heat, light and a sense of quiet to get down on my hands and knees and say the Lord’s prayer everyday.

    The woman who offered me to stay in this house adopted a child who I recently met. He stated he met his birth mom but his body language told me it did not go well. So I told him love makes a family not just blood as I haven’t had contact with my biological mom for years.

    This is all prayer in action. I am grateful for all these angels entertained unaware.

    Interesting that not one person offered me to sleep on their couch initially during a night when I had no place to go at my local branch church. But God opened a door right under their nose where I had safe shelter as close as their own breath before they found out and forced me to move onward

    I will be writing more on this at my own blog coming soon. Stay tuned!

    Too bad you don’t read about this one in one of the CSPS articles as it trumps all the back aches I hear so much about.

    After all Mrs. Eddy moved 9 times while writing Science and Health. She even got kicked out in a thunderstorm with her trunk and just a folding chair.

    Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL Mankind.
    Rob Scott

  5. Perry says:

    The most powerful example of gratitude I know is Christ Jesus’ gratitude to God before, not after, he raised Lazarus from the dead. Gratitude and expectation of progress and healing go together. We all want to experience progress and healing. Making a commitment to be grateful more consistently is a proven way to achieving this.

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