Before Caroline was born, I started the daily practice of keeping a gratitude journal. Each night before I went to sleep, I would write down 3-5 things I was thankful for that day. It might be something that happened, something I saw, something I purchased, or something I did. I made my list in a simple numbered format. The key was to keep it simple.
I found this a really good discipline for closing the day on a positive note. To be honest, sometimes all I would write down is:
I mean we all know that sometimes the best part of a day is the fact that it’s over and we can go to sleep. We can start over fresh in the morning. That’s something to be thankful for, isn’t it?
There were some times that were quite difficult in the midst of this. There were some stretches I stopped. But this pile represents 2004 through today. Some of the books represent more than a year. I don’t do a different one for each year. I start whenever I need a new one and just keep going.
That is a lot of things to be grateful for.
Looking through them today, I find myself wishing I had included a few more details when I wrote them out. However, that is the rub. If you feel obligated to write a lot each day then it becomes too much of a burden. So keeping it simple meant it got done. Since I have always viewed this more as a spiritual exercise of ending the day with a grateful attitude before the Lord and not a record of my life, it makes sense the way I did. But you know me. I’m always looking at how something might be done better.
I’ve kept journals and diaries off and on throughout my life. I wish I had always kept them, but I can’t undo that. However, I am thinking of starting up journaling again in addition to the gratitude journal.
I’ve started to try doing this sort of thing. I’m trying to jot down something small a good memory, something I’m thankful for, a funny story, but I’m not doing so good at it.
Well, look at it this way. Even if you manage to only do it half of the time, you will still have all of those wonderful things written down. Something when you can is better than none at all!