Not too long ago, I ‘endured’ the tiniest little bump in the road, something not even worth mentioning.
OK, OK … if you must know, it was an inefficiently run meeting.
One person in the group took the lion’s share of the time allotted for all to speak. He disclosed a decision that he needed to make, explaining the circumstances in detail.
And then someone with good insight (my husband, Dan) spoke wisdom to him, and I’m pretty sure the man left the room with less weight than when he arrived.
You see the gift given to him?
The next morning in my journal, I confessed my negative reaction to this inefficiently run meeting. And then I logged in a full paragraph of all there was to be grateful for in that moment of my annoyance:
1. Sitting there—pain-free and in good health.
2. Eyes to see the last of the autumn beauty out the window.
3. The rich taste of a pumpkin Chai latte.
4. A brain that works reasonably well (sometimes).
5. Sharing a beautiful home with a man who loves me dearly.
6. Graced with more friends and family than one ought to be allowed.
7. A full pantry and fridge in our lovely home,
8. nestled on a pretty little piece of property,
9. with a short walk to the river,
10. in this beautiful town tucked at the foot of the Cascade Range.
11. No war raging around us.
12. No earthquakes or volcanic action happening anywhere in our vicinity.
You see what I’m saying? I have all this, and yet I was feeling perturbed.
Since that day, I encountered another situation that required waiting in a line while inefficiency unfolded in front of me.
But I remembered the lesson.
This time, I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. I relaxed my shoulders and reset my mind. I looked around at the people who could use a silent prayer, looked around at what I could be grateful for in that moment.
And there was abundance everywhere.
When we make it a practice of rushing past the people, past the simple pleasures and graces that make up our lives, I’m pretty sure we become less grateful.
We don’t notice, so we don’t speak gratitude.
And as we practice not noticing and not speaking gratitude, we become less. Less content. Less relaxed. Less joyful. We live a lesser life.
Here’s the thing: We won’t always have these people, this health and mobility, these simple pleasures. I know this from experience.
Now that I’m living in an abundant season—new love, new family and friends, new home, new purpose—I want to pay attention.
I want to pay attention and speak my gratitude. While I still can.
God does not put conditions on gratitude. Except this one: “… always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:20, NIV
Have you ever counted:
1. The number of things in nature that take your breath away?
2. The number of people who love you, the number of people you love?
3. The number of candles on your birthday cake because that number represents the days and months and years of your extraordinary, far-reaching, relevant life?
This thought from G.K. Chesterton:
Here lies another day during which I have had eyes, ears, hands and the great world round me. And with tomorrow begins another. Why am I allowed two?
I will never stop counting all the ways I am loved by my Creator.
I love the idea of writing a list of things to be thankful for.
Danelle, I’m now on my third list of 1000 things I’m grateful for. It’s such a “perspective-changer.”
Thanks, Marlys. I needed this message today. We do have so much to be thankful for!
I can imagine how frequently things can go sideways in your corner of the world, Heidi. But God … and much to be grateful for.
What a great Thanksgiving message. Years ago, our priest had a similar message & ask us in our impatient moments, to stop and pray for who’s ever in front of you. It really works ! I’ve been praying for the back of people’s head for years!????
Diane, I love that you’ve been praying for the backs of people’s heads for years! Excellent!
Patti ann ridgeay
All can be well with our souls even if it’s not well with our circumstance…There is always something to be grateful for and in most circumstances there is always a lot to be grateful for.
Beautifully written and while this is a great reminder for any time, Thanksgiving Season seems especially appropriate!
Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving holiday,
Will and Tanya
Yes, Tanya, Thanksgiving year-round! Wishing you and Will a blessed Thanksgiving season.
Beautiful reminder, thank you for sharing your heart.
Thank you, Allison.
Wow, that was wonderful. We do tend to be rushed and not pay attention to what is around us and be grateful for what God has given us. I thank God for you!
So true, Heidi … and God has given us so much, hasn’t He?!
Ann Peachman Stewart
What a great reminder! Even when my heart is breaking, I can give thanks and when it’s full, there aren’t enough words!
I love how you said this, Ann: ” … and when it’s full, there aren’t enough words!” Thank you.