Something that I have been learning over the past year is the art of gratitude. It is more than simply giving thanks for friends, family, and good health. It is about remembering with every breath from Whom all blessings flow, delighting in even the most inconspicuous of treasures, being constantly in awe of the goodness of your God. It is about living each moment in the knowledge that you deserve nothing, yet have been given everything.
A gratitude journal, in which one simply jots down daily a list of things for which he is thankful, is a wonderful way to practice the art of gratitude. What better day than today to practice?
Today, I am especially grateful for…
…the breathtaking arrival of autumn in all its golden-hued splendor. The copper, amber, rust, and gold leaves are exquisite confetti, annointing the grass, the sidewalk, the streets, announcing the arrival of autumn. Every cloudy breath is frosty spotlight, every puddle a stage for the raindrops' waltz. In what other season are we treated to such a vibrant visual feast?
…my jobs. As busy as it makes my days, as difficult as it makes it to schedule anything, I am blessed to be employed, especially in this economy. Every time I buy groceries or get emails reminding me that tuition payments are due, I am reminded of how glad I am to be working.
…whoever found my iPod at the gym yesterday and decided to turn it in to the front desk rather than taking it home and considering it an early Christmas gift.
…family. My family can be strange, I’ll admit it. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Those dinners where you hardly eat anything because the whole time you’re overcome by laughter- the kind that leaves you teary-eyed and red in the face, makes every muscle in your belly cramp up, and leaves you wishing you hadn’t drank that last glass of water- they’re priceless. I love that even when I’m without a stitch of makeup and my hair texture is scarily similar to Richard Simmons’, they still want me in the family photos. They’ve seen me through my awkward years (still waiting for the light at the end of that tunnel, but I’m hopeful!), they’ve seen when I wake up in the morning, they’ve seen me when I’m on my worst behavior, and they’ve been the recipients of my less-than-Christ-like actions more times than I’d like to recall. But by the grace of God, they still love me.
…the pumpkin smoothie I had for breakfast this morning. So much goodness (and beta carotene) in a single wine goblet! And yes, I had my smoothie in a wine goblet and ate it with a spoon. The goblet because I’m classy like that, and the spoon because…well, I couldn’t find a straw, and a spoon was the next best thing.
…this country. What a blessing to be born in the birthplace of freedom. Too often I take for granted how blessed I am to be able to go to church, sing songs of praise, pray in public, and talk about God without any fear of being arrested or imprisoned or worse. I don’t particularly desire to own any sort of firearm, but if I were to be overtaken by the urge to buy one, I could. As a woman, I can go in public with my face exposed, I can be employed, I can get an education, and I can choose who I marry and when I get married. I look at Old Glory flying high and proud and know that it’s is because countless men and women have loved this country enough to give everything they had to ensure the liberty and safety of America’s people. In light of the recent events playing out in South Korea, I am once again reminded that, despite her faults, America really is the best nation in the world.
…the twenty years that I was privileged to know Charles Talley, Jr. He encouraged my love for writing and my faith in the Lord, and I only hope he’s proud of my progress in both areas. He was the best grandfather and one of the most Christ-like, honorable men I have ever known, and it was impossible to be around him without laughing and knowing that you were loved.
…this semester. I have been challenged, stripped of pretenses, and thrown in the deep end, and through it all, I’m learning to tread the waters of adulthood. I have experienced the tremendous blessing of being a part of the Student Leadership team, which has been a great part of my growth this semester. I have refined current relationships, forged new friendships, and met people whose role in my life I can’t predict, but I’m better for knowing them. It has been a tumultuous four months, but my heads about the water and I’m still swimming.
…sleep. I’ve always enjoyed a good nine hours, but now that I have become acquainted with the joys of working the morning shift at a coffeehouse (do you know what waking up at 4am does to your circadian rhythm? Not to mention the circles under your eyes…), I have a completely new appreciation for my REM cycle.
…Love, Light, Logos. The Lamb, the Rabbi, the Messiah. His names were many, His purpose was one- to redeem those He loved beyond the limits of time and space and life itself. That He would cherish me enough to take the punishment I deserve, in order that He could offer me that of which I am not worthy. That He could know me more than I know myself, that He could see the ugliest and most base parts of who I am and still deem me valuable enough to die for. That He would see me drowning in the miry depths of my own sin and still reach out His holy, nail-pierced hands to lift me into His kingdom of grace. When it comes to Him, I will never be able to fully express my gratitude.
Tell me, on this celebrated day, what are you thankful for?