23rd October 2013 | Leah Kostamo | 2 comments

Getting in gratitude shape

Perhaps, dear reader, you are one of those enlightened souls who goes around humming hymns and thanking God for his manifold blessings – all day, every day. If so, good on you. (Seriously, good on you!) But perhaps you are like the other 98.2% of us who find it easier to count our irritations, challenges, annoyances, etc., etc., than count our blessings. Our gratitude muscles have grown flabby through lack of use, making it so much easier to sit on the couch and whine than muster the energy to perform the exhausting exercise of thankfulness.

What we flabby would-be appreciators need is something to get us up and moving – something to make us truly thankful. What better place to start than where we are and what we are standing upon.


Harold doing barefoot gardening

Forget the United States of America, DIRT is the Great Melting Pot. Branches, banana peels, coffee grounds, much-loved and newly-deceased pets – they are all the ingredients of soil. Once fallen, microbes, bacteria and invertebrates get to work breaking down the molecules that once made up all those leaves, fibers and fur and, voila! − a rich melange is created that has the nutritional umph to grow everything from salad greens to Sitka Spruces. It’s a miracle, really.

Thank God for dirt!

And that’s just what’s under our feet. Once you get started, the world suddenly becomes a veritable jungle gym of miracles on which to flex your gratitude muscles. There’s air. And trees. And small woodland creatures. All amazing in their own unique ways – all somehow integral to health and the sustenance of life on earth.

And so we respond: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And then we pause. And consider that once the inertia of indifference has been overcome and the momentum of gratitude sets in, the natural extension of all this thankfulness is responsibility. As the goodness of the gifts of this one precious earth are felt and received we move from a place of thankfulness to action, recognizing that the Giver of these gifts has enlisted us as co-stewards so that these gifts might be preserved for other people, plants and plankton to enjoy.

To aid you in your planetary do-gooding, A Rocha has put together some helpful resources that are chock-full of ideas and projects that will enable you to put your newly strengthened gratitude muscles to productive use. Follow the link and learn how to practically and productively care for creation in your home, business and church.

Go, team, go!

We are happy for our blogs to be used by third parties on condition that the author is cited and A Rocha International, arocha.org, is credited as the original source. We would be grateful if you could let us know if you have used our material, by emailing [email protected].

Categories: Reflections
About Leah Kostamo

Leah Kostamo is an earthkeeper and storyteller who is passionate about helping others live lightly on the earth from a place of joy and hope. For the past twelve years Leah and her husband Markku have spearheaded the work of A Rocha in Canada. She is the author of Planted: a Story of Creation, Calling and Community.

View all posts by Leah Kostamo (11)

2 responses to “Getting in gratitude shape”

  1. Júlio Reis says:

    I love the photo of the man doing barefoot gardening… that’s some serious relaxation going on there!

  2. Francis Koppschall says:

    Thank you, Leah.

    One further thought: Gratitude, in the sense of being content for what we have, is also the weapon by which we combat our inclination to accumulate more material goods and make our lives more comfortable and convenient for ourselves. It is this inclination, multiplied many times over, that is destroying this world. Gratitude is a must for everybody involved in conservation.

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