A Call for Gratitude

Just recently, I was reminded again how blessed I am with all the things that I have and all the things I’ve experienced.

Looking back, I can say that every day was a big blessing for our family, a miracle even. We were always grateful for each day that we get through because of the little miracles that allowed us to meet our basic needs.

I grow up in a family of five. I am the youngest child. I have two older brothers. My mother was a housewife and a part-time dressmaker. My father was a driver and a hollow block builder. He died when I was about 11 years old. It was a sudden death. I can’t say how hard it was for the other members of the family, but it was so hard on me because I was a father’s girl and I was there when he died. His death not only brought us grief, but also a lot of worries specially on our finances. My brother was about to go to college. And as we were struggling for our daily expenses, it was hard to imagine if he can be sent to college. But my mother, as a strong advocate for good education, was determined to send him to college. And with God’s grace, my brother was able to have a scholarship from DOST, and his tuition in UP was subsidized. As we were living 2 hours away from the city, his board and allowance were really a struggle. I remembered that I and my brother picked papaya or puso ng saging (banana bud) from our neighbors to make us a meal. I also remembered that we oftentimes went to the riverside to pick up logs and carbon rocks. We used up the logs, and we sold the carbon rocks. At 11 years old, I did the laundry and the cooking, and was the keeper of the house (I was not so good at this :)).

We were literally at the mercy of the Lord’s providence. But there’s a beauty to that situation because we learned to be really humble and grateful. Every night, I and my mother will pray the rosary together. Life then was really hard. But I enjoyed it and learned many things from it. We get by everyday, and we were united in facing each day. Those were the most trying times of our lives.

Now, almost 14 years have passed and I can definitely say that we are much more blessed as a family. My brother and I have graduated on time and now have decent jobs. I don’t know when it started, but it seems like I became too accustomed to God’s blessings, that I can’t appreciate it the way I appreciated little things. I started taking them for granted, and even started complaining. I was comparing my position and financial capabilities with others and was not glad of the difference. My gratitude have become more of a duty than of true gladness for God’s blessings.

May our hearts be filled with true gratitude for the blessings that we have, and that we can hope for what God is bound to give us more without losing sight of what we currently have.

During our SFC household, we were asked if we celebrate because of the goodness that God has bestowed on us. It was then that I was reminded of our past struggles, and how despite those trying times, we maintained a cheerful and a grateful attitude. Shouldn’t it follow that because I am so blessed now, I should have given thanks to the Lord more, and really really mean it? Why does it seem like the more blessings I received, the less I remembered to be truly grateful. I even tried to downplay the graces I received by being quiet about them. When I am ask how am I doing, it is so easy for me to say “I am doing well but… (and list all my shortcomings, and problems)“. I thought I was being modest. Maybe I was being modest. But because of that I started denying His blessings and was being ungrateful. I failed to cherish and celebrate what I have because I was so focused on what I want more. It put me to tears… not because I was feeling sorry for the poor situation we had been in, but because of shame that I forgot where I started and where I am now.thanks4

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