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An Attitude of Gratitude

Some of life?s lessons are learned in unexpected ways and places. For six years, I wondered whether God had designated Laramie, Wyoming as a Winter Misery Testing Site. I arrived in Laramie, Wyoming on the 10th of February, 1986. It was a cold winter morning. The temperature must have been below anyone?s survival level, or at least that is what I thought. Welcome to Wyoming!!! When I left Nairobi, Kenya on the 7th, the thermometer?s range was around the 100?s.
They told me in Wyoming that I should expect two seasons, the 4th of July and winter. Rodney, my friend, told me that snow could be expected during any month except July. The snow problem was always amplified by wind. The speed of the wind was phenomenal. There was no need for raking and bagging leaves in the fall. Wyoming winds blew them to Nebraska or Colorado!
I disliked the winter conditions of Wyoming and looked forward to the day I would leave. On the 6th of April, 1992, I started to work on an ecological project for Idaho Power Co., which generates its electricity mainly by use of water power. The main source of the water is snow. Indeed my very livelihood depended on snow. Soon, I joined the others at Idaho Power in praying for snow, especially given that there had been snow scarcity for about six years prior to my coming. The decorations of the Christmas tree that year were centered around one theme: Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
The forest fires of 1993 covered the Treasure Valley with smoke, and the air was stifling. Migraine headaches became a problem, thus prompting me to wish for the Wyoming winds. If only we had some of the wind in Wyoming, I wouldn?t have migraine headaches.
I learned to appreciate and being thankful in any situation. Perhaps it is 8:00a.m on Monday or a rainy day that ruins fishing, shopping, or golfing plans. Maybe somebody else?s prayers are being answered by the conditions we think are making our lives uncomfortable. The list of things to be grateful for is endless in every situation.
Often, our attitude of gratitude is impaired by the fact that we focus on the ?storms? in our lives. We only see the desert we are traveling through. However, there is always a rainbow behind the cloud and a stream in the desert. When we keep our eyes and hearts on the rainbow and the stream, we maintain an attitude of gratitude. We thank God despite the prevailing circumstance.
At times, the rainbows and streams seem not to be there at all. Actually, we just don?t see them. This is where family, friends, and associates help us.
No one can be ordered to have an attitude of gratitude. However, it is contagious. It can flow naturally from parents to children and from friends to friends. We can cultivate an attitude of gratitude by being thankful for the daily portion of fresh air, unpolluted water and three meals a day, shelter, freedom, health, jobs, opportunities to be creative, and chances to enrich the world with our uniqueness.
Attitude is determined by how we respond to experiences. It is how you react to incidents, not the incidents themselves, that determines our attitude. We have basically little control, if any over natural forces like tornados, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is our internal response systems. How we respond to these calamities is something each individual can control.
Life is difficult at times and easy at other times. Tranquillity depends on how we respond to difficult times. Relying on ancient wisdom, Cicero, in the year 45 B.C. said, ?Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but it is the parent of all others.? Excerpted from Slices of Hope & Inspiration By Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku

Dr. Vincent Muli Kituku, a motivational speaker, seminar leader and adjunct professor at Boise State University, works with organizations to increase productivity through employee and leadership development programs.

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