One of my friends shared the idea of a “cynic’s gratitude list.” Take something that you want to gripe about and find something positive to say about it. You can be honest or snarky. Either way, the exercise is likely to turn your mood around–or at least make you smile.
Some examples we’ve come up with over the years:
- I’m glad my daughter is learning to play my favorite song on the piano. I love hearing it over and over and over again.
- I’m glad my dishwasher was broken for 6 weeks. It forced me to slow down as I washed all of our dishes by hand.
- I’m glad my client called at 5:00 pm on Friday with an urgent project. I hadn’t figured out what I was going to do over the weekend.
When I heard last Sunday’s Gospel reading (Matthew 11: 15-19, 25-30), I thought about our cynical gratitude lists, and wondered if Jesus was being sarcastic.
After denouncing the many who had heard Him preach and seen Him perform miracles, but still did not become followers, Jesus said:
I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
This passage had never struck me as possibly sarcastic before (and I may be completely wrong–see disclaimer below regarding my lack of formal religious training!), but one thing I truly adore about the Bible is that you can hear the same passage many times and still hear something new.
I imagine that Jesus might have been a bit exasperated. Not only did he share the Good News of God’s love and salvation, he backed it up with numerous miracles. Yet, still, he was challenged as a fraud (or worse). What would it take to convince these people???
His life would have been so much easier if the elders believed in Him. Instead of His scraggly band of disciples, He might have had the endorsement of the Temple. Instead of getting by on the hospitality of others, He might have been put up in a fancy palace. Even if Jesus understood that things had to happen the way they did, He might have been a bit wistful for a different storyline.
While Jesus’ gratitude may or may not have been cynical, mine is genuine. I’m glad that God revealed his Word to children, so that people like me with a simple understanding of God’s love can believe.
What’s on your cynic’s gratitude list?