I used to think the trick was to focus on the future. Wishing my way through winter, counting on spring to come with all its fresh renewal of spirits and inner drive. What did that leave me with, really? A few months of dissatisfaction. There has to be a better way.
St. Gianna Molla said:
“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day.”
Moment by moment with thanksgiving. If I aspire to happiness in every season (winter, yes, but also any difficult or trying “season” you may experience), I must give thanks not merely for what is promised to come but what is here now. Am I thankful for the whipping cold wind? No. But I’m thankful for the sunshine on my skin. Am I thankful for having to wear layers and layers to be tolerably warm? No. But I’m thankful I have those layers to do so. Am I thankful for the darkness descending by the time I leave my office each day to drive home? No. But I am thankful for the brightness of the hugs I receive from my little ones when I walk in the door. Plus I guarantee those evenings make me more thankful for the light of dawn each morning.
What about this moment right now? Right now. Stop and be thankful. Pause to choose something worthy of your gratitude in this exact moment and consciously offer thanks to God. I’ll do it with you.
And now I’m a little bit happier with my day than before.
The side effect of all this gratitude isn’t only happiness. It’s that internal motivation to persevere in whatever tasks, projects, or endeavors you are tempted to neglect in this season. For me it is writing projects and being diligent about cooking worthwhile meals for the family. When we see the good in each day, in each moment even, how much greater the impetus to treat the day as deserving of your best.
The lovely hope of spring is still a fine reality to contemplate, but if I count on it to make me my best self in this season of my life I am likely to be disappointed. The gifts of today are reason enough to invest myself in living.