Are You Ready For the Spiritual Discipline of Gratitude – Tom Sine

by Christine Sine

Today’s post in the series Return to Our Senses in Lent, is written by my husband Tom Sine.


Last week we ask you: are you ready for the spiritual discipline of daily laughter? We encouraged you to join Ted and Company in learning to laugh at our own foibles every day so we could learn to live without taking ourselves too seriously.

This week we are urging you to consider adopting an attitude of gratitude.  It is all too easy for all of us to focus more on what’s going wrong than what we have to give thanks for. When I used to work for World Concern in Haiti in the early 80s I used return home to Seattle feeling very embarrassed about my petty complaints Sometimes I was able to go an entire week without complaining about the weather, driving conditions or some of my difficult friends. An amazing miracle!

As we enter the season of Lent I urge you not only to reflect on your shortcomings but to fast from verbalizing complaints for a whole week. Any time you are tempted to complain stop and give expression to something your grateful for. Research actually indicates that people who express more gratitude are significantly happier than those who are given to complaining about their situations.

I can still remember how proud I was of my dad during his repeated times in the hospital for several serious ailments during his final years. I never heard him complain once. Instead when I would ask him how he was he would say “I am always all right!”

As you can see from the picture Christine and I plus our dog Bonnie have a great deal to be grateful for. Friday we arrived at our 40 acre site on Camano Island for the Mustard Seed Village only to make a stunning discovery. As you can see our construction team has just poured the foundation and erected eight poles for the first building in the Mustard Seed Village.  As you can imagine we had little difficulty in expressing our genuine gratitude to God for all of those who contributed to this new beginning.


But were also grateful for the opportunity to finish what we have started.  We are grateful for the opportunity to join with others in bringing a road and power to the site as well as constructing a sustainable septic system and putting a pump on our well. We are grateful that this new facility will enable us to start hosting gatherings on the land to help people learn to live more innovatively, sustainably and festively in these uncertain times.

Write me this week and let me know if you are able to replace words of complaint with words of gratitude for the entire first week of Lent. Also write me if you’d like to join many others who are helping us make the Mustard Seed Village a center for Christian imagination and celebration.

You may also like


WW February 16, 2013 - 3:00 am

Hi its Naomi (of Chris and Naomi England).
A reality check here for me as to be able to read this sentence “Any time you are tempted to complain stop and give expression to something your grateful for” I had to ask (shout at) Kirin (age 8) to talk quieter!!
It feels almost impossible to quit complaining especially with kids around but I’m taking up the challenge for this week.
Thank you for this.

Christine Sine February 16, 2013 - 7:42 am

Naomi – I an imagine it is not easy when there are kids around. I don’t have kids around but can still be very ungrateful. One of the things I find helps is keeping a gratitude journal. Maybe I don’t remember to be grateful at the moment but at least I can sometime later and that conditions me to remember to be grateful in the future.

Paul Stephenson February 17, 2013 - 12:58 am

Great word Tom! I’m so grateful for you, your vision and for seeing the foundations for that vision poured!! Hurray!

Leave a Comment