Friday, June 23, 2017

Starting a Blessing Journal

ATELY I've been carrying a lot of stress and anxiety, for a number of reasons that don't need to be articulated here. It's not easy to live with a constant, sore weight of fear in your belly. So today I picked a blank book given to me by my sister, opened it up and wrote the first entry in what I am calling my Blessing Journal.

I'm not the first to come up with this concept. It goes by other names as well -- often it's called a Thankfulness Journal or a Gratitude Journal -- but because I believe in God, and further believe that God is the ultimate source of all good things in life, I perceive such things to be blessings. Besides, it's my choice. So a Blessing Journal it's gonna be.

The concept is pretty simple: cast about in your life for something which is a blessing to you, especially if it's something that's easy to overlook or take for granted, and write it down. The act of writing solidifies the blessing in your head, making it less easy to ignore and increasing your feelings of gratitude for what you've been given. You can keep it very simple or go into detail, as you feel inclined. (I'm sure you don't have to guess how I'm inclined.)

Here's what I wrote for today:
You can speak, read and write English.

Two of the world's most difficult languages to learn are English and Chinese -- Chinese because of its complex writing system and the language tonality where a slightly different tone can drastically change the meaning of a word; English because it has borrowed words from so many other languages that it seems to have no rules. But English is the de facto language of business, communication, art and science. Much of the world speaks English as a second language. Your early command of both spoken and written English has been an enduring blessing in your life. You can readily express your thoughts and feelings, and you have had free access to the thoughts and feelings of others, from autobiography to fiction to scripture. Because you know English, you can easily drive to a new place by reading maps and signs, pick up the items you want at the store, watch copious amounts of Hollywood movies, vote in elections, and otherwise participate in daily life in the United States without the need for an interpreter. Further, your English literacy allows you to be of service to others for whom English is still difficult. It is a great blessing, one not to be taken for granted.
In writing this, I'm not trying to suggest that other languages are inferior to English. But in the United States and other primarily English-speaking countries, it is a huge advantage to be fluent in the most commonly recognized tongue. Most of my maternal relatives had to work very hard to gain some fluency in English, so I was very fortunate to grow up learning it. And reading, primarily from English-language literature, has been the joy of my life.

Not sure I'm going to do this every day, but I do want it to be a regular habit. It's easy to forget your blessings, especially when you're stressing over something, but that's when blessings can be a great strength and comfort. Here's hoping the practice will help keep me sane and grounded.

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