Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Handout 1: Gratitude for What We May Take for Granted

In For Praying Out Loud: Interfaith Prayers for Public Occasions (Boston: Skinner House, 2003), used with permission.


We are not ungrateful—not all the time.

We know that life is a precious gift. Though we would

appear at times to squander it, remember the ways we do not:

When we are happy, accept our joy as gratitude for all opportunities, accepted and ignored.

When we are broken, accept our tears and anger as gratitude for feeling deeply.

When we reach out to others, accept our compassion as gratitude for conscience and compassion.

When we choose solitude, accept our silence as gratitude for the deepness of spirit we are seeking.

When we act thoughtlessly, accept our mistakes as gratitude for the freedom we have in our lives.

When we act foolishly, accept our lapses as gratitude for the lessons we have yet to learn.

When we share our stories, accept the telling of our lives as gratitude for community and family.

When we worship, accept our ritual mumblings as symbols of gratitude for all they represent.

Spirit of Thanksgiving, when we remember to give thanks for life and love, for knowledge and wisdom, for freedom to act and for freedom from oppression, accept our obvious omissions as unspoken gratitude for suffering that brings us compassion, for sorrow that helps us grow, for disappointment that gives us determination, for illness that offers healing, and for death that makes way for new cycles of life and creation.