Where Gratitude Lurks

A young mother with young children lives in a house out in the countryside. Her husband works in the trades, taking their only vehicle, an old truck, to his various job sites all over the county. One day, after waiting for her husband to get home so she could use the truck to drop something off to a neighbor, the truck broke down at the end of their driveway. Being a single income household, they could not afford any time off, let alone however much time and money it would take to get the truck fixed. Additionally, it was the start of a holiday weekend, and no mechanic would answer her husband’s many calls until several days later.

Finally, they contacted a mechanic who not only answered their call, but worked in the neighborhood and was willing to come to their house to assess the damaged truck. After the holidays, neighbors who learned of this family’s situation offered to take the husband to and from work, eventually offering to let them borrow a spare vehicle they owned. Other neighbors offered to take the young mother to get groceries. The mechanic came not long after that, not only fixing the vehicle at a rate this family could afford in small payments, but he returned later that same day with a large box overflowing with fresh garden produce as a gift. Because of these many blessings, the young family was provided for for days to come. Stories like this one remind me not just to be grateful, but they teach me where to look for the blessings that inspire it. Terrible, upsetting things happen. Scary, confusing things happen. Unfair things. Heartbreaking things. But as prevalent as there is cause for sorrow, there is as much cause for joy. In general, society focuses extensively on things we don’t have. Advertisements are designed to point this out all the time, its what makes the purpose of their product or service make sense. But we’re inundated with lack and it’s a weird social trend to feel victimized by the fact that we’re always missing something. “If only I had this or that, I could really live!” Listen, I don’t think there is a problem with recognizing our needs, desires, or the gaps in our lives. Often, the problem begins when we are so focused on our empty hands that we’ve gone crosseyed and our eyes are stuck that way (just like they said they would when we were kids!). How do we find the blessings that are lurking just outside our scope of vision? Look up. Remember what you do have. For starters, you’re reading this on some kind of computer or smart phone that is very possibly paid for by some kind of supportive income or given as a gift by someone who cares for you. You’re reading it with eyes that see, a mind that comprehends, and you have the ability to function beyond these simple things. Have you eaten recently? Do you have access to clean water and indoor washing facilities like a toilet and shower? The building you might be in, is it structurally sound and do you feel safe at night where you sleep? I don’t know about you, but I can wear simple clothes like jeans and a t-shirt and not fear a terrorist group dragging me out into the street to publicly humiliate or kill me. I can go on a walk and sing or dance or praise my God out loud, freely. My children able to run and play; they’re healthy and happy, growing and learning. This is where the blessings are. They’re abundant and they surround us. There is always something to be grateful for. Always something we do have.

“Come, let us sing praises to the Lord; let us shout to the rock of our salvation. Let us greet His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout to Him with songs. For the Lord is a great God and a great King over all divine powers. In Whose hand are the depths of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are His. For the sea is His, He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.” ~ Psalm 95:1-5
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