Years ago I decided I should start a gratitude journal. It might have been an idea from Oprah, Regis and Kathie Lee, or Reading Rainbow. I can’t recall, though I do recall the sound of the narrator’s voice from The Poky Little Puppy vhs tape. She was a good ol’ gal. The journal wasn’t meant for lofty thoughts. It was just for simple thanks.
During this season of Thanksgiving I thought it might be interesting and kind of fun to pull out that journal. For the sake of imagined privacy, I will not name names. This is from – let’s just call it ‘the early years’. Here are some entries:
- Going into the kitchen and coming upon 3 humming happily as she plays with her toy broom and baby carriage.
- I’m thankful I can pray for others. Whether I hear a siren and pray for a stranger or for someone on the prayer chain or, like tonight,, hear of something on the T.V. I just heard comedian Bill Cosby’s son was fatally shot and found along the highway; and I prayed for that family and will again.
- Graham crackers with frosting.
- The nasal suction thing.
- The light in little 4’s eyes.
- I got the floors washed today.
- We have enough money for more milk.
- I got a nap today!
- I got the paper read.
- Everyone ate their supper.
- I found a parking lot to park in.
- The thrift store.
- The kids clapped when I placed supper on the table (parmesan noodles, cooked carrots, applesauce) – such good kids.
- A lovely nap!
- Everybody is sleeping in their own bed.
- 2 told me death is like a peanut. The shell stays and the peanut goes up to heaven. Then 1 added some practicality, “or like a snail”.
- There was a 1/2 hour period of time when it was quiet and Brian and I sat in the same room, reading.
- The cross.
It’s instructive of what my life was like then; a little snapshot of small things that made me grateful. There are only a couple of big things on the list: prayer and the cross. Without them there would be no list. Not for me. (Or maybe I should say without them I would be such a different person, I’m not sure I would make a list.) The rest, though, are the minutia in the life of a mother with young children. It does seem I was a bit overly focused on sleep. (Just know there were other entries with the word ‘nap’ in them.) But those days of limited sleep and money were every bit as good as days with more of both, maybe better. And that’s what gratefulness is, isn’t it: Acknowledgement of the small things in our lives that fill us up?
As we come upon this time of Thanksgiving, let’s be glad we have not only the capacity for gratefulness, but know Someone to thank. Even during these days of tragedy and hostility we can find the good things, the interesting or happy or satisfying moments.
We, my friends, could very well be witnessing the waning days of this old world of ours. People have thought that before now, of course.
There’s a lot of passion about a number of things. People, good folks, are divided over how best to live out our faith. I wonder if Jesus aches at our arguments even as He waits for word that it’s time. The earth, itself, rumbles here and there with nature’s groanings. There are a few unfulfilled prophecies to watch for in the meantime. But that’s just it. IN THE MEANTIME, while we wait for the next shoe to drop and do whatever we decide is the best thing to do during these days, we can be thankful. This world is a good one. It always has been. It’s still beautiful and the people in it can be, too. Every season brings its own gifts. Let’s be grateful while we have time to show it.