Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Giving thanks for another chance

An odd thing happened to me today.

After I'd just written a post about my bathroom, the events of this morning conspired to prevent me from taking a shower. Nothing was wrong, really; I just wasn't able to bathe before I needed to be dressed and out and about. I'd taken a shower yesterday morning; I wasn't disgustingly dirty or stinky. I just wasn't freshly clean.

By midday I felt sticky and itchy. Oh, how I wanted to smell fresh and soapy. I longed for my skin to feel smooth and satiny. I coveted a deep breath of the aroma of freshly-laundered towel. I was cranky.

So I took myself off to my nice, big, clean shower. I stood under the steady stream of steaming hot water. I lathered up lavishly with my lovely body wash. All was right with my world again. "Boy, I'm thankful for a good shower," I thought to myself.

And then it hit me: the ugly truth, right square between the eyes. Actually, I'm not at all thankful for a good shower. To tell the truth, I rarely give it a second thought. Only on a day when I was prevented from having it at the usual time did I stop to realize that it's a blessing.

How many, I wondered, how many busy mothers just like me would love to be able to bathe once a week? Even once a month?? How many would give nearly anything to stand in a shower of clean, hot water? How many would consider it the height of indulgence to wash their bodies with the soap I use every day?

I am struck by the fact that this everyday blessing which I take so lightly is actually a great luxury. I think wryly to myself that there's nothing wrong with me that a flood or fire wouldn't cure. And then I wince at the knowledge that there are many who have endured flood or fire or even worse, while I sit here securely in my nice snug house.

Thanksgiving? Dear God, what would I have left if I were to lose all the things for which I never stop to give thanks? I think I must begin my prayer of thanksgiving with one of confession.

I never intended to be blase' and complacent. I didn't mean to be ungrateful. I realize now that ease has affected my perspective. I spend too much time thinking of all the things I don't have and not nearly enough time being grateful for all that I do have.

I want my perspective to change. I need my perspective to change. Dear God, I confess my poor attitude, my thankless heart, my ungrateful spirit. Change me, Lord. Please.

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Psalm 51: 1-2; 10-12

How about you? Are you, like me, grateful for another chance to be grateful?

--Unwrapping this gift with Emily at Chatting at the Sky


Kim's Treasures said...

Every time I think I hate having to live in an apartment in IL while my house sits unsellable (loss of market value) in MI...I am thankful that the Lord allows us to be able to make both a mortgage and rent payment while others lost their homes in this crisis.

Every time I get mad about my chronic illness, I remind myself that at least I can live with it while others are far worse off with their illness.

Thank you for your post!


Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. :) We have it pretty good, don't we???

emily freeman said...

ooooohhhhh....this one is so very good, my friend. So important.

Holly said...

A lady I know whose son is a missionary had been over to Africa to visit him and told us that the people were in shock that we bathe in our drinking water! They have so little clean water that it would be unthinkable to use it for something like that.
It's so easy to become complacent about our abundance, isn't it?

Blondie's Journal said...

When I selfishly want something, I have to remind myself of all that I have. I do that a lot and it keeps things in perspective. This is a very good post, Richella.


Mandi said...

I couldn't stop crying while counting my blessings..the smallest things turn out to be great blessings. My family and I don't have much by any means but what we do have I am so much more grateful for.

Thanks for this post!

Richella said...

Oh, yes, Mandi!! We all have so much if we'll just stop to count our blessings! Thank you for your kind comment. Bless you!

Southern Lady said...

What a beautiful reminder to be thankful! Sometimes we get busy and forget to thank God for all of his blessings. Carla

Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top said...

Thank you for this wonderful reminder. Thank you!

Autumn Mist said...

This is so true, Richella. A few years ago we hosted two girls from a Russian choir in our home. They just stared in amazement at our kitchen, which isn't particularly huge by english standards. Eventually one of the girls said, "In Russia, 3 families live in room this size." One of the others, staying with a friend, pointed to the floor and asked, "What is this please?" My friend said, "It's carpet Sasha." His response was, "Oh. In Siberia, we do not have this." Humbling, to say the least.

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

I try to think this as much as I can. Especially to do with water.

The other day, we didn't have electricity for about 12 hours and it made me realise how much I take that or granted too..


Marla @ Always Nesting said...

This post is an eye opener for all of us that have taken life - and all that encompasses - for granted. My "ah ha" moment came 5 years ago when I almost died and had to be patient with my journey back to health. That time of my life, that season, taught me so many lessons. I'm still grateful, every day, for God taking me to my knees. Yes, I'm thankful, more thankful than my words can even describe, for God giving me another chance to see life the way He wanted me to see it.

Dawn said...

while you confessing about your shower... i was thinking about my showers in africa... how careful i had to be... not to get water on my face, in my mouth. and once i got home i was totally thankful for the beauty of my own shower (however unclean it may be!) but in three months... i have forgotten the gratefullness. thank you for reminding me!

Judy @ southern style home decor.com said...

That is very thoughtful of you to think that way. My kids and I have beens sick for almost three weeks now and I was feeling sorry for us because the doctor made us wait it out before getting antibiotics. Turns out we needed them and now we're getting better, but still I'm thankful we can go to the doctor and then the local pharmacy when we need medicine. It made me think of the pictures from Haiti where kids are dying because they don't have medicine. Can you imagine being the mom and watching your child be sick and not being able to do much about it. I'm thankful today for what I have been blessed with in life. So many people do not have even the basic necessities of life.

t2j2 said...

I borrowed the last few lines to post as my FB status...couldn't have said it better! THANKS for reminding me that I have soooo much to be thankful for!

Melanie said...

Every time I read one of your post, I am reminded about something that I take for granted. You really make me think and I appreciate that.

My hubby always says that my bubble bath at night cures everything that is wrong in my world:)

Heather said...

So true - such a good point!

New Every Morning said...

I get a wee bit grumpy when I don't get my shower. Not too long ago I was reminded, like you, to appreciate the miracle of daily gifts that I often take for granted. Thank you for this great reminder, friend.

DidiLyn said...

Exactly. I am thankful for to be reminded of everything we should be thankful for.
I join you in your Psalm 51 prayer.

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