Q: How can I be grateful, if I’ve got nothing but trouble? — Jenn

A: This question pushes through to the very core of gratefulness. Let us begin by frankly admitting that we cannot be grateful for injury, disease, injustice, and other troubles. We cannot be grateful for all that a given moment brings us; yet, in any given moment, we can be grateful for something – for the opportunity it brings us. Opportunity for what? Only in that particular moment can you hear an answer to this question that will fit your particular need. And you will hear it, if you keep your ears attuned through gratefulness.

Our troubles create a great deal of noise. In the midst of that din it is not easy to hear the soft voice of opportunity. We need trained ears. This is why we need to train our ears long before trouble breaks in on us.

The gift within the gift of any given moment is opportunity. Most of the time, this is an opportunity to enjoy what that moment brings. Yet how rarely do we fully taste that joy; instead we rush on to the next moment. Training for listening to the opportunity that is the gift within the gift starts in our happy moments. The more we listen, the more we will be able to respond also to the opportunity that a moment of trouble offers us. We may feel that we have got nothing but trouble, but even our worst troubles are jam-packed with opportunity.

— Your Brother David

Br. David Steindl-Rast