It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t thinking clearly at 23 – but reflecting back on those early days of a new husband, new God, new town – I do see (now) how God was working all things for his purposes – and the main purpose surely was that I needed to mature greatly in my faith, and learning the language of thankfulness was a valuable lesson in that maturing (yes, I still feel very immature most of the time). And, of course there was a big plus in those early days – not running from the struggle has its benefits – for I (now) love Tom’s children.
Fast forward 28 years.
The practice of gratitude continues.
In the Spring of 2012, after reading portions of the book One Thousand Gifts, I started my own year long project of listing the things I am thankful for. What a glorious idea – one that probably should be practiced yearly – and if I never do it again, I am most grateful for that year – March 2012 to March 2013.
Here are some of the things I was grateful for:
The very first one is: my rescue. That’s how I see my salvation. Being rescued – miraculously – from myself and from my choices – it was a true deliverance in many many ways. And I hope not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for my rescue.
Another is, that sort of personality that can dance in the furnaces of life – I’m drawn to those types – unflappable, other-focused people – so so attractive in my opinion.
And another … feeling the love of God. I am truly saddened when I hear a woman tell me that she’s never felt the love of God – she knows it but has never felt it. This is one of my favorite feelings – sensing with all my senses his love.
Another … is being thankful for God’s economy – that economy where everything is redeemable. Nothing is beyond his grasp. Nothing is too messy. Beauty-for-ashes-economy.
Another … the weekly Sabbath – the market day of the soul. After reading Abraham Heschel’s Sabbath my mindset started to change with notions like … no complaining on the Sabbath, and don’t even think about painting the fence (much less doing it) … no repenting (not sure how biblical that is, but it does sound freeing!) – and we are called the other six days to work on our character – so perhaps we need to leave the Sabbath to a day to truly rest – even from our neurotic, anxiety ridden thoughts.
Another … which seemed to fill pages of my personal thousand … the most loving and gentle man on the earth for a husband.
Now those are the big things – that came up over and over throughout that year of gratitude – but there were other things – large and small – like mentioning BFFs and favorite people … and tacky finger and great quotes … hardwood floors … waking from an anxious dream … walking in the woods with a bunch of kids looking for beautiful things … qualities that God let me possess momentarily like calmness, peace, joy, contentment, a sound mind … mentors … many things in nature … good hair days …
Proverbs 15:15 says “a cheerful heart has a continual feast” … it’s true.