Thursday, November 17, 2011

Practicing My Thanksgiving Scales

It's time once again to pause and give thanks, to reflect on the abundance of blessing in our lives. As I think about it, it seems to me that our gratitude is usually expressed on kind of a sliding scale, depending on our present life situation, of course, but also based on our own maturing faith. What have we learned along the way and what have we come to appreciate about life that never used to show up on our radar? Even more, what have we learned to value that we used to whine about? Hopefully, we are still growing and learning to be grateful not just for the simple pleasures and basic needs which God provides, but also for the tough stuff, the struggles, the difficulties, even the painful life lessons almost always learned the hard way. It's a grown up gratitude that I think pleases God most.

So here's my Thanksgiving list on a sliding scale, from the simple and obvious blessings to the difficult and disguised ways in which God works for my good:

I am thankful for...
  • unexpected hugs.
  • cards that have more handwritten words than printed.
  • the wonderful smell and taste of Old Testament cooking - throw the meat on the fire.
  • my sister Judy's chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • the last bright red leaf on the sidewalk.
  • hearing the guitar actually making music in my own hands.
  • the grace of two-man scramble, not having to play all of my hooks and shanks and slices.
  • my wife, Suzanne, a one-man woman and a one-woman man on the long journey together, nearly 30 years and many more miles to go.
  • my favorite word, "Dad", and three wonderful children, pretty much adults now, who light up my life and fill me with pride and hope.
  • the big wet smile and bright eyes of each new believer I baptize. I know God smiles, too.
  • a chance each year to deliver Christmas and put presents under someone else's tree.
  • how it feels to light a candle on Christmas Eve.
And, I am learning to be thankful for...
  • insights gained.
  • lessons learned.
  • obstacles overcome.
  • pain endured.
  • more reasons to be humble.
  • help received in time of need.
  • strength to persevere.
  • opportunities to serve others.
  • prayer without words.
  • songs I cannot sing without tears.
  • God's stubborn and persistent love.
  • the amazing way that Christ puts His hands inside mine and lets me touch others with His love.
  • a lonely path, a skull-shaped hill, and an empty tomb.
And, gratefully, I am finally learning that what I already possess is a thousand times more precious than anything I may lack.

2 comments:

Connie E said...

Just read this post, and thought it was particularly thoughtful. Good things to ponder. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

A good bit of writing. Thanks!