I got infected with the gratitude syndrome


merrygoroundIt’s been more than 2 months since we returned from the Compassion Vision Tour of Kenya.  I’ve been thinking alot about what the long term response should be (personally and vocationally) to those 9,000 miles of travel.  Today I’m not sure I have an answer, but I have a better sense of the “why”.  A little back story…while getting ready for the trip, my bride pointed me to the writing of Ann Voskamp.  She is a writer and blogger and she too has been on trips with Compassion.  Today her post helped to put some perspective on our shared experiences.

Ann shares today about her visit with a young man named Martin in Ecuador.  His story…his journey…and more importantly his attitude radically changed Ann’s perspective.  So too did was the effect on us of our meeting the many children and their families in Kenya.  Considering the financial poverty that many Kenyans find themselves in (according to the IMF the avg per capita income is less that $1,700 annually).  Yet everywhere we went there was a deep sense of gratitude for what they had…a contentment.

Ann says:

Grateful eyes truly do see grace and goodness, even in the most difficult and unattractive packages.

The Gratitude Syndrome makes you desire what you already have rather than always needing to have what you think you desire.

Gratitude makes life’s horizon bright and big rather than dark and distant. It turns what you have into more than enough.

I think I get that.  I saw gratitude played out…everywhere we went…the largest slum in the world in Kibera outside Nairboi to a village 2 hours north of Kisumu in the Rift Valley…and in between.  So many images and stories I could share. But this one…of these children playing on the merry-go-round. The simple joy they expressed was heart melting.  I found myself overwhelmed at times (and even now) about how much joy these children have because of what the Kingdom has and is for them because of people they, for the most part, will never meet.

David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, says

“The root of joy is gratefulness … It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

So very true. So as you lean into your day and your world…I pray you get infected too. The world needs your strength and presence.