Comedian Louis CK tells a story that sums up the message of the parable of the 10 lepers. He says the problems in society today are related to this: “Everything is awesome and no problem and yet nobody’s happy”. Awesome and no problem are two phrases which have replaced “thank you” in our gratitude vocabulary.
What I think is that gratitude is not something we feel, it is a practice that makes life better. As the Apostle Paul said, “In all things I give thanks”. Not just in good times when all is going well, but especially in hard times.
Thank someone else everyday. Shawn Achor, a Harvard researcher who wrote The Happiness Advantage, found that people increased their happiness by writing one email every day praising and thanking someone else in their social network. This makes sense for one simple reason. Sadness is isolating, because we pull inward and shut others out. Thanking people re-connects us, and we are likely to be happier with renewed bonds with others.
Over the last several months I have been recovering from surgeries. These were not awesome months and I never once said no problem post-surgery or during physical therapy. At times it has not been an easy experience. More than post-surgery pain and limitations, the complete change to my routine and habits was a definite challenge. I did have the chance to reflect on my many waiting room experiences and medical staff conversations which were peppered with these two interesting phrases. If anything, I hope that my return to parish life is awesome and no problem both for me and our parishioners. I am grateful to all who helped me post-surgery to recover.
I am grateful to all of our parishioners who sent me cards and notes of encouragement and humor during my time away from the parish. I am grateful to Father McCarthy and the Legionaries of Christ who helped with the liturgical and sacramental ministries in the parish community. I am especially grateful to Deacon Louie who handled every week all the behind the scenes duties so that our Lord could be worshipped with little disruption to our parish routine. Our parish staff has been wonderful in continuing to serve all who come to the office and especially during our Annual Rummage Sale. Without the staff, the parish would quickly feel the change of routine which can so easily be taken for granted.
I am happy to be back to work at Immaculate Conception. This is an exciting anniversary year as we prepare to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of the Church.
Gratefully with you a disciple, and for you, the pastor,
Father Kenneth Anderson