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Being grateful really is the key to happiness, existing in a state of constant appreciation for the little things. From a faith based perspective, scripture revealed this truth to us long ago, rejoice and again I say rejoice, engage in praise and worship, pray without ceasing. Some misinterpret this to mean God demands constant adoration and worship, like a human dictator might, endless ego stroking. That is completely untrue, admiration, adoration, exaltation, benefits us, fills us with joy, helps us to keep our eyes on Him.

By nature I am not easy to please, I am picky and hypercritical, although the more kind among us have called it, “keenly discerning.” Being keenly discerning does create some challenges when it comes to being easy to please. One must create a bit of humility and constantly focus on appreciating the little things.

In family life, in marriage, becoming easy to please really serves to bring some more delight and romance into your life. My husband can simply wake me up and say, “I made coffee” and I am instantly in love, madly, passionately, gloriously appreciative. I mean seriously, are there sweeter words in all the world? How blessed I am to be encased in memory foam, living better than the kings and queens of old, only to be greeted with coffee? No having to build a fire, grind the beans, boil water…after a long night of sleeping on the ground. Camping out is one of my favorite things to do, and although there are some pleasant things about that, it is actually the suffering that makes one appreciate their own bed and coffee pot all the more.

Suffering serves a vital purpose in the world, something I think we often forget in the West where we are often so blessed with comfort. Becoming easy to please, cultivating gratitude, that is the first step, but the next step is far more challenging, being appreciative even in the midst of suffering and misery. Meh, not so easy. Thank you Lord for this opportunity to be miserable and the treasures you have hidden within this experience,  and for your promise that tells us, “and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are  called according to his purpose.

It has taken me years to trust in the truth of those words, but I have now seen it enough times, found the fruits there, to be completely convinced that God actually does know what He is doing, even when we cannot see it, even when life becomes more than we can handle.