Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On gaining gratitude


The words jumped off the page at me:

"What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you remembered to give thanks for today?"


November is the month of Thanksgiving in the United States, so reminders to give thanks are popping up all over--in decorations, on church marquees, even on store windows.

As I pondered that question, though, I found myself thinking about how many things I simply take for granted.  How many blessings I never even consider as blessings.

The story of the early 17th century pilgrims who came to this continent on the Mayflower is well-known, enough that it has been romanticized to a large degree.  But those who celebrated the first Thanksgiving feast had learned the hard way to be grateful for the plenty that they enjoyed.  During the pilgrims' first winter at Plymouth, more than half of their number died.

Died.

Strong and courageous people had set out on the voyage to seek a new life in the New World.  Nearly all survived the dangerous voyage.  But that first winter, lack of food, lack of shelter, lack of medicine had led to the deaths of more than half of those who landed.

I imagine that there was very little taken for granted by those pilgrims who survived to celebrate that first feast of Thanksgiving.

I wonder: must I have my blessings taken away from me before I will remember to give thanks for them?

I hope not.  But that question haunts me:

"What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you remembered to give thanks for today?"

Oh, Lord, I thank you for my husband. For my children.  For a roof over my head.  For food to eat.  For clothes to wear.  For the means to obtain everything I need and many things I want.  For two strong legs and feet that can bear my weight. For eyes that can see, ears that can hear, hands that can work.  For health.  For the health of my loved ones. For friends.

My word, the list is already long, and I'm just getting started.  I'm miles from getting to such blessings as the beautiful morning light shining on my porch.

"Count your blessings, name them one by one," the old hymn admonishes.  I've sung that song all my life, but I've rarely taken its advice to heart.  I'm trying to change that.

And here's the welcome side effect of counting my blessings, of naming them one by one.  My list of blessings is so long, I find when I'm counting them, I don't have much time for complaining.

I've been through some tough times lately.  I'm certain you have, too.  But compared to my list of blessings, I have to admit my list of grievances is pretty short.

What about you?  Do you stop to count your blessings?

7 comments:

Mindy Whipple said...

A lovely, thankful post Richella. When we used to sing the hymn "Count your blessings", our Pastor would change the phrase, "name them one by one", to "name them TON by TON". We do have so many reasons to be thankful - this month and all year long!

Debby Ray said...

Such a true and meaningful post, Richella. Like you and many of us I am guilty as charged...taking many things for granted...unintentionally...and I know the Lord knows that, but still...I need to be aware of my blessings continually. Thank you for this lovely and timely reminder, friend.

Nici @ Posed Perfection said...

Love this post, Richella. What a wonderful reminder to count those blessings, one by one. Have a wonderful week.
Blessings,
Nici

Ceil said...

Hi Richella! I would give thanks for that lovely porch too. So peaceful looking!
I would also give thanks for my health. We all have challenges to our well-being, but overall, I am happy that God has gifted me with the ability to wake up and hit the ground running. I also thank him for the gift of my family, friends and faith.
Blessings!
Ceil

Valerie said...

Dear Richella,
What an absolutely beautiful and thought provoking post. I try to count my blessings each day. But...some days I must admit I get so busy, I tend to take so much of what I love and enjoy for granted.
Thank you for the reminders. Your porch is beautiful!
Blessings,
Valerie

Heather Clamp said...

I appreciated this lovely reminder, Richella. And I really like the thought that more gratitude leaves less room for grumbling.
I hope your son is doing well these days.

At The Picket Fence said...

I just love this post so much Richella! It seems to that so often it is when things are really hard that we cling to the Lord and have a heightened awareness of our blessings and yet I hate to think that it takes something bad happening to be that reminder. Thank you for sharing from your heart and for the gentle nudge I needed to stop and count my blessings today! You are included in them! :-)

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