Confronting our own silences, and listening to ourselves, eventually moves us toward listening to other, previously unheard silences. To the silences in many who have had to quiet the expressive parts of themselves. To the silences of children, too often "shushed" as having nothing to contribute. To the silences of Earth, in its land and air and water, so often in pain where we have abused it, as well as to the faulty systems, structures, and customs that reinforce such troubling silence. As our listening deepens, we inevitably touch the Center of all stillness. In the midst of all the silences, we become able to hear the quiet Presence of the One who loves us, cherishes us, needs us... We meet the Holy Mystery whose listening to us is the primordial power, hearing us into speech.
Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. Yet, the choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious. Because every gift I acknowledge reveals another and another until, finally, even the most normal, obvious, and seemingly mundane event or encounter proves to be filled with grace. There is an Estonian proverb that says:
"Who does not thank for little
Will not thank for much."
Acts of gratitude make one grateful because, step by step, they reveal that all is grace.