by Father Mark Goldasich
Attempting to recover data.
Oh, no! I awoke to this disturbing message several days ago when I went to check the weather forecast on my iPhone. Immediately, I lapsed into “awful-izing” mode.
My stomach was in knots as I ticked off what a disaster I now had on my hands: I was certain that I’d lost all of my contacts, photos, texts, music and audiobooks.
And, most distressing of all, I fretted about how people could reach me if they couldn’t call or text. I kicked myself for not backing up all of the information on my phone like I should.
I sat morosely at the kitchen table, nursing my morning cup of coffee and silently steaming at Apple. Out of habit, I picked up my nonfunctioning iPhone to check on how to fix a nonfunctioning phone.
Lo and behold, to my great surprise, all was well; my phone had miraculously healed itself. Thank you, thank you, Lord! (Apparently, the “recover data” message popped up because the phone was in the process of updating to its latest version.)
All of my “awful-izing” was over nothing. I smiled as I reached for a journal that has become my companion these past few months. I then wrote my first entry for the morning: “a working iPhone.”
I came across this little journal quite by accident while ordering something else online. Called “The Five-Minute Journal,” it was created by Alex Ikonn and Uj Ramdas and published by Intelligent Change, Inc. It’s billed as “the simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happier.” Although it’s not foolproof, most days it does what it promises.
Its setup is simple. Each day starts with some inspirational quote to ponder from a variety of voices. Here are just a few:
- “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” (Maya Angelou)
- “Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” (Vince Havner)
- “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” (Brandi Snyder)
- “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” (Fred Shero)
Next on the page are three numbered lines where you complete the statement: “I am grateful for . . .”
Three more numbered lines then follow where you answer the question: “What would make today great?”
Finally, there are two lines for you to write a daily affirmation, which begins “I am . . .”
At the end of the day, you again pick up the journal before drifting off to sleep. There, you respond to the statement: “3 Amazing things that happened today . . .”
Lastly, you jot an answer to the question: “How could I have made today even better?”
I can attest from using this journal that it’s made me aware of how blessed I am, helped me look for opportunities to make each day great and reminded me that, at the end of the day, there are always some amazing things that have happened, if only I’ve taken the time to notice them.
In other words, I’ve gone from floating day to day to being much more conscious of, and grateful for, what a gift life is.
Thanksgiving is just a few days away. But let’s not limit our gratitude for blessings to just that one day.
Instead, along the lines of “The Five Minute Journal,” humbly begin each new day by acknowledging three things you’re grateful for.
That exercise might lead to what is explained in this reflection by Mark Pearse, an early 20th-century Methodist preacher:
My daughter once said, “Daddy, I’m going to count the stars.” After a while, I heard her counting, “Two hundred twenty-three, two hundred twenty-four. . . . Oh, dear. I had no idea there were so many.”
I sometimes say in my soul, “Now, Master, I’m going to count your blessings.” Soon, my heart sighs — not with sorrow, but burdened with such goodness — and I say to myself, “I had no idea that there were so many.” (Adapted from “A Treasury of Quips, Quotes & Anecdotes For Preachers and Teachers,” by Anthony Castle.)
May we be so blessed to say the same, this Thanksgiving and throughout the year.