Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to be Simply Grateful

They brought home turkeys. Thankful turkeys. Two of them.

And Mommy and Daddy made it onto the thankful feathers of these thankful turkeys. And so did Titan and Addison. And I confess my heart melted a bit for thankful hearts and thankful feathers on thankful turkeys.

It's nice to be thanked isn't it? To know someone is glad for you and told you she was glad for you?

And if we're honest, we're probably not thanked enough. But even more than that, do we set the example by being grateful in all things at all times?

I don't.

It's hard to be grateful when there's ten loads of laundry that need washing and folding and putting away.

It's hard to be thankful when my house is filled with dust and banging hammers from a roof still broken.

It's hard to be thankful when an aunt goes early to the hospital two days before Thanksgiving because her heart is broken.

I travel the roller coaster of frustration and ungratefulness every day. That battle that befalls and my day falls apart and I go with it. And my children jump on that roller coaster with me and we ride it together.

There's little gratitude at the end of that ride.

But there could be.

It's simple really--a conundrum though because what's simple is almost always what's hardest to do because simple is not the same as easy. This is where I get hung up.

I like easy. I like how simple sounds. And because simple sounds easy, I think it must be. Until I'm knee deep in my own mire and don't quite remember how I got there. Whoopsies.

Simple is a choice. To unclutter the heart and look at what really matters is simple. To be grateful for all things at all times is simple, not easy.

It's simple to be glad for the little things, the small victories, the infinitesimal blessings in the middle of whatever muddy road I'm traveling.

It's a matter of perspective isn't it? Where my eyes go, my heart follows?

When I sit in the quiet and really think, I could fill volumes with all I am grateful for. With all that I have to be grateful for.

But in the middle of the fourth temper tantrum of the day and my house looks like a bomb of  Legoes and Barbies and coloring crayons has gone off in every room and wherever the children go a trail of shrapnel follows--it's hard to see, to remember, what exactly I was so grateful for in the quiet.

I need to make the simple choice.

It's easy to be frustrated with the mess I've already cleaned up three times.

It's easy to say words in anger because they are playing ice hockey in their socks on the hardwood floor again, complete with the Zamboni.

It's easy to worry and look elsewhere when my aunt lies sick in a hospital.

Those are the easy choices. Not the simple ones.

Gratitude is a spiritual discipline and like anything with the word 'discipline' in it, it's probably simple, but never easy. We have to plant and tend and grow gratitude. If we don't feed and water it, it ceases to exist. If it ceases to exist, to whom are we directing our eyes? Our heart? Where are we looking?

All gratitude is an act of worship. When we worship God, we are changed. Because how can I acknowledge with my gratitude the work of God in my life and not be changed?

And even in the hard and the dark and the storms that swirl scary around us and the seasons that we want so badly to run out of, those places hold grace and gratitude and worship too.

It's in those storms and in the dark where we are really tested...it's harder to choose gratitude when your world is crumbling to pieces and your heart is cracked into a thousand shards and the enemy presses hard against you...gratitude then takes courage to believe that God is who He says He is and He will do what He has promised in spite of where your feet are walking.

Offering our gratitude in the dark and scary spaces is defiance of an enemy that robs us of our joy, that robs us of our faith.

Offering our gratitude when we feel hopeless is an act of worship believing that God is more and that God is all.

Even the smallest small spark holds the power of a wildfire. So it is with our gratitude.

Gratitude begins with just a wisp, a whisper, a heart plea and the more we are grateful, the more we will find to be grateful for.

The more I look for God in the hard, in the normal, in the in-between, the more I will find Him.

It's where we're looking that matters.

Today I choose simply.
Today I choose to be grateful:

a family who rallies
a pile of pumpkins
princess bandaids
a kiss blown and caught
a full night's sleep
a hand held. or two. or three
a fish kiss
tears that turn to giggles
dirt covered little people
long walks
unexpected friends

And those thankful turkeys...they sit proudly on my kitchen table to remind me of all I have to be grateful for.

Grace Always Rises,

1 comment:

  1. So, so true! Have you read the book "1,000 Gifts"? After I read that I started making my own thankful list. It's a great discipline to write down things that I'm thankful for each day, especially on the hard days.
    Can you imagine what it will be like in heaven when we will have nothing to be ungrateful for??
    Happy Thanksgiving, friend!