Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.

John Milton

Today, is my mother’s 75th birthday.  As I wrote in my journal, stating her age, I also wrote “I am thankful for my mother.”

There have been times in my life when I was not grateful for my mother (I am sure many of you can relate to this) and being able to write this simple sentence was one of those “transcendent moments” Milton spoke about.  It was…freeing and I felt light and…grateful.

How many moments are there in day that have the potential of being a “transcendent moment”?  How many moments do I let slip away, those potential moments of transcendence that I never even notice?  How many moments end up being a “downer moment” or a “that is a bummer” moment?

Last weekend, I attended a retreat with several women from my church.  The theme was gratitude.  Yes, there was time for prayer and reflection, but there was also a time for conversation with the other women.  And as I spoke with many of the women and heard their stories, and I in turn, shared my story, my heart grew in gratitude.  I, like many women, can get stuck seeing all the hard things in life since sometimes I feel like I am surrounded by it.  Let’s face it, life is hard at times.   Sharing our stories helped me to see the good great things in my life again. As I saw my life through others’ eyes, I was able to see the blessings of my life with a different perspective, with a deeper gratitude.

Recently, I was in church by myself.  It was quiet and I was writing in my journal.  I looked up and saw the sun shining through the colors of a stained glass window.  The church I attend is quite modern and many times, I have complained (not too loudly)  about it.  But that day, I saw such beauty in that window that I drove home (one minute away) and brought back my camera.  Through the lens of my camera, I saw beauty I never saw before in that church.  The result of my time behind the camera is a grateful heart.  I thanked God in my heart for the gift of faith and for the many blessings of my life.  The next time I went to church, I knew my life had changed.  There was my transcendent moment and the beginning of many more such moments to come.