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March 20th, 2014

JILL — DAY 16 : Silver Linings

Lenten Gratitude: 5x40

 
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“Silver Linings (Orton)” image by ICK9S [M. H. Stephens] licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 2.0” http://www.flickr.com/photos/ick9s/

“Silver Linings (Orton)” image by ICK9S [M. H. Stephens] licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 2.0” http://www.flickr.com/photos/ick9s/

So, as I’ve been writing my daily list of 5 things for which I’m grateful, I’ve come to notice a bit of a mechanism that helps me find gratitude amidst cacophony. Silver Linings.

Let me take a step back. Here are a few of the items I’ve included in my daily gratitude lists over the past few days:

  1. Looking forward to the day that the scaffolding comes down at http://bustedhalo.com/blogs/jill-day-1-ash-wednesday-gratitude
    . It feels a bit like Hogwarts at daily mass, in that the entrances and throughways are changing on what seems to be a hourly basis as they reposition the scaffolding. The construction makes getting into and out of the church feel like a bit of a maze! And, I can barely hear the priest sometimes. Nonetheless, what a pretty sight the newly renovated cathedral will be. If it’s anything like what I can see peeking out from behind the scaffolds now — it’ll be amazing!
  2. Can’t wait to be done with this project at work. It’s been absolutely ridiculous! But, it’s really come together and everyone has worked so hard — I am looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.
  3. Loved the debate I had with a friend about some local politics. Though we totally didn’t agree at all, I loved that I could have a super honest, insightful, and passionate conversation with someone who had the opposite view. Made me see the issue from a completely different vantage point! And, made me so glad that I have a friend with whom I can dialogue freely without fear of admonishment.

All of these situations reveal an imperfect situation that I thought about and mindfully found the silver lining or opportunity. Trust me — this isn’t my normal modus operandi. Prior to this Lent, I’d grumble every time I’d enter and leave St. Patrick’s (#1), not feel grateful. For #2, instead of giving thanks for a project that’s ridiculous, I’d be cursing it. And in #3, I’d be so annoyed at my friend because CLEARLY he didn’t understand me or the issue. ****If he did, then why didn’t he side with me?!

There are many days that aren’t all moonlight and roses — where you just want to throw up your hands and go to sleep because you are OVER it. What this Lenten exercise has taught me to do on these days is to actively try to see the light in a situation, to let a little hope creep in.

Easier said than done — for each of these silver lining moments above, there are about a hundred negative things that I’m irritated about or annoying things I’m worried about. But, I find that the daily practice of writing this list has helped me to become better at finding the light at the end of the tunnel. And, thus, the happier and more positive I become overall. Finding five things to be happy about at the end of the day makes my head lighter and my heart so happy and hopeful. It’s a great way to end the day and a great way to say thanks to God for ALL that we are given — the good and the bad, thanks to the silver lining.

 
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The Author : Jill Olickan
A proud Texas native, Jill is a marketing director living in New York City. When you can’t find her working, traveling to fabulous places, singing or running in Central Park, you’ll find her spending time with friends and at events that help her grow in her Catholic faith. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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