The Joy of Gratitude

by Rev. Sarah Garza on May 09, 2024

I feel like I have been on the receiving end of a lot of gratitude recently: an email here, a text message there, a quick word in passing along with a warm embrace on multiple occasions. This week has also given me the opportunity to be on the sending side of gratitude.  It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and both of my kiddo’s schools invited families to shower the teachers and staff with gratitude.  It’s been a joy to help my kids write cards, give sweet treats and flowers, and watch them give extra hugs to the people who are helping them to learn and grow!  We even took time in our staff meeting earlier this week to intentionally write thank you notes to one another - words of gratitude and appreciation for sharing in the work of ministry together as a team. 

Receiving gratitude. Giving gratitude.  I’m not sure which one has filled me up the most.

Brene Brown, a research professor and author, has explored the topics of shame, vulnerability and leadership.  In her work she also discovered a connection between joy and gratitude. She writes:

“In my 12 years of research on 11,000 pieces of data, I did not interview one person who had described themselves as joyful, who also did not actively practice gratitude.  For me it was very counterintuitive because I went into the research thinking that the relationship between joy and gratitude was: if you are joyful, you should be grateful. But it wasn’t that way at all. Instead, practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives.”[1]

Receiving gratitude. Giving gratitude. And the practice of this can lead us into joy. 

Who can you show gratitude to today? Who can you write a note to, or send a text?  What can you name that you are grateful for?  How can you lift others up, and in doing so create a connection to joy for you and for them?

[1] “Brene Brown on Joy and Gratitude”, Global Leadership Network, accessed May 9, 2024,

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