Friday, December 13, 2013


A late summer Canadian front sweeps across Lake Erie at dusk. 
Our capacity for appreciation is a function of the "human" brain over the reptilian, at least for the times we choose to exercise our God- given capacity for wonder and appreciation. It's worthy of its description as one of the "transcendent" emotions, because it allows us to be human, to love, to calm down, and better endure difficult times.    

One way to counteract the natural tendency of adaptation to good things (the animal brain) is to make a regular list of all the things which we take for granted.

There are two ways to experience appreciation: one, we practice it daily or, two, we undergo the loss of blessings- and we recognize them after the fact.  Adapting to the good can be countered by intentionally remembering the good in our lives. Psalm 73:25, is instructive here: "Do I have anyone else in heaven?" Or, whom do I have to thank?

Another way to embody appreciation is to relinquish what we cling to as our rights. Instead, see them as favors. 

This works wonders in relationships of all kinds, including marriages. You can become a bucket filler by expressing genuine appreciation to others with whom we live and work. Most healthy relationships need daily three, four, even five more bucket drops than bucket dips, and genuine appreciation is one of the vehicles we have for placing deposits in others.   

A third way to nurture appreciation is discipline ourselves to engage in activities that encourage it.

A brilliant musical performance, a museum that houses great works of art, or a breathtaking sunset can all lift our spirit. In the days when I served as a labor coach/dad for my expectant wife, I was to make sure that her focal point was available, that is, a photo of her beloved kitty cat. Why? Because the sight was comforting and peace-giving to her, even in the most difficult pain of her labor.

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