Genesis 1:22-23 (NKJV)
Being grateful is a deal...a real thing that God created that helps the human brain thrive. After God created sea and sky creatures on the fifth day, He blessed them and gave them the ability to thrive. They have done just that.
A few years ago when I started studying gratitude, I learned what being grateful does for the human brain. I noticed the more I practice gratitude, the easier it felt. When I first started it seemed like it helped when I felt anxious. I also noticed it elevated my mood. I learned in counseling and in Spiritual Direction that being grateful (even if you don’t really feel very grateful) eventually makes you grateful. Over time, being grateful has become more natural. It became the ‘new normal’. Gratitude really does change the chemistry in our brain. I highly recommend this article I came across from Berkeley: (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain). Over time I have experienced exactly what the article talks about.
On day five of creation, God created Sea and Sky creatures. From the deepest darkest bottom of the Ocean to the highest high of the sky within the earth’s atmosphere, God created wonderful marvelous creatures for us. In Genesis 1:22-23, “God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.”
I am always amazed and grateful for God’s creativity. That stretches far beyond how each bird and sea creature were created. They were created for a purpose...a specific purpose. They were created to be part of our ‘order’. Each species is part of a chain that is connected to the earth. Every sea and sky creature has its place on earth and a purpose.
I suppose I need to confess that most of the sky and sea creatures I’ve seen in my life have been small birds that live in cities. I am a city kid. Midwest born and bread. Until a few years ago, I’ve always lived in a city or a town. Moving to a farm a few years ago at the age of 65 was quite an experience for me. Just about the time I moved here I was driving during the early evening hours across a bridge in a wooded area near the farm. The moon was bright that night and just as I crossed the bridge a huge shadow completely covered the windshield of my car. The wingspan was wider that my front windshield. The winged creature was right over my car. I totally freaked out.
I did not know what kind of bird this was...I only knew it was huge. I was certain it had to be an eagle or a vulture. But I found out eagles and vultures are not nocturnal creatures. It turned out that owls are! But, surely this winged creature could not have been an owl. I mean, the wing span was bigger than my Mustang! I found out the Great Horned Owl (which does live in those woods) has a wingspan that stretches nearly five feet wide. A Mustang windshield measures 75 inches, or about 6 feet. This owl wingspan is about 5 feet, so probably the bright moon than night cast a shadow that made the owl appear wider than it actually is.
That did not matter to me.
Since than night, I’ve HEARD the Great Horned Owl cry out at night. It was frighteningly loud and creepy scary. Knowing there were birds like that at night not far from where my small dogs go out, I made it my business to find out what owls eat (remember...city kid). In the lower Midwest, the owl feeds on small animals which includes rodents and frogs. Okay. Good. They aren’t looking to feed on an 11 pound Shihtzu or a 17 pound Schnoodle (more than likely at least.
After I found out the Owl can eat it’s weight in mice, I gained a new appreciation for them because I really hate mice. I’m not a huge fan of frogs, either. Now, I am actually grateful for this really big owl.
At least I am really glad they don’t usually eat little Shihtzus.
This morning when I woke up one of the things I was grateful for was sky and sea creatures. I suppose because I’ve been writing about birds and sea creatures, my brain focused on them.
I was specifically grateful for the owl...because it eats lots of mice.
Thanks God for the help with the mice.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Gratitude
Think of something in your life you are grateful for. You can ask God to show you how to be grateful for something that you wouldn’t normally be grateful for. God WILL show you the way. (If God can make me grateful for the Great Horned Owl, He can do anything!)
Grateful for God’s help, Deb