Camp and Retreat E-News: Gratitude: Caught in a Positive Spiral

September 25, 2019


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Reflections on values with Camp & Retreat Ministries

Gratitude: Caught in a Positive Spiral   

 Value 6: Gratitude

By Rev. Dan Benson, Director at Alton L. Collins Retreat Center

If you were to explore current research for what makes a happy life, you would find that gratitude makes the list most every time. Truthfully, this isn’t new news.  As a student of scripture, I could point you towards many passages that encourage us to live with gratitude. I could tell you facts and figures about the benefits of gratitude. I could appeal to authority about how this is the right way to live.  Instead, I would like to tell you one brief story about a positive cycle of gratitude that I get to participate in.

One of our groups is a small mindfulness event that has been happening annually here for several years.  I have always appreciated the facilitators of the event for their kindness and positivity. It strikes me as wonderful that they often share with me and the other staff that they are grateful and appreciative of the space and attitude of the staff. I also let them know we appreciate their work and the spirit that they bring with them. This year the specific focus of their event was on gratitude, and over the few days they were here, the positive transformation was palpable.  At the conclusion of the event, some of the participants were moved to donate in response to their gratitude of space, and the leaders made a significant donation towards a project we had been hoping to achieve. Our gratitude for these gifts was great, and we will use these gifts to further support and improve our ability to provide hospitality to our guests.

Living with gratitude ignites a cycle of positivity in our world. I have provided you with one small example of how gratitude can grow and grow, and that story is not done yet.  The work of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I believe that gratitude is one of the powerful tools we have to witness to the love of God and to participate in the transformation of the world. May you find ways to practice gratitude today and see where it leads.
In peace and thanks,

Rev. Dan Benson

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