Giving thanks is hard for me. And I don’t understand why it should be. I say “thank you” quite readily and even with genuine feeling. To the student who holds open the door for me, to busy Starbucks staff, to my co-workers, to my husband and children…But why am I having trouble saying it to God? Does anyone else experience this disingenuous dichotomy? What have I NOT got to be thankful for? I stinkin’ live in Northern VA in the US of A with a solid husband, 3 kids, and a well-paying job. I do not have to pick about in the garbage heap to find scraps of bread to feed my loved ones and myself. I don’t face war or terrorism or gang violence as some do every moment of every day. Gosh, I feel like fodder for a “first-world-problems” joke on late nite TV.
So as pathetic as this will seem, I’m going to start off “small” right now. Problem is, I don’t “feel” genuine thanks welling up in me as I do when speaking to certain other fellow human beings.
Ahem…Thank you, God for a (new) roof over my head. Thank you for a faithful, steady husband who loves his children passionately. Thank you for work, even though it is not what makes my heart go pitter-patter (that would be languages, for the record). Thank you for parents who still pray for me and have sacrificed for us, even as they live on a fixed income. Thank you for a saintly mother-in-law and sister-in-law (there are stories out there!). Thank you for the home made slow cooker soup I’m eating, that actually turned out pretty tasty. Thank you, Lord, that my family can attend church without looking over our shoulder or wondering who will be waiting for us at home when we’re done.
Hmmmm…I guess I could continue.
Thank you for a caring therapist who has guided me through a terrible time and is rooting for me. Thank you for food on our table every day. More than enough in the pantry and fridge. Thank you for cars that run properly (well, most of the time). Thank you for clean water, Lord, I cannot imagine walking miles and miles to find it and haul it back home.
OK, I’m going to take a break because my fingers are getting tired. I kind of hope someone will come across this blog and take some comfort from it, make comments, whatever. Let’s see how often I can get back to it and unpack more on gratitude.
Thank you that I can help unravel a mysterious “teaching and learning tool” for someone and elicit a smile and a “glad I came here” from them. Thank you for daycare workers who really do care about my kids and who have done their best to instill good values in them, when I can’t be there all day long.
Thank you, Lord, for sufficient money for us to pay for our food, not have to steal or look in trash cans or beg. Thank you that my children love to laugh and be silly (even when it gets on my nerves a little). Thank you, Lord, for their unfeigned, genuine love and smiles; their desire to communicate and be with us and each other. Thank you that eating “twirly pasta” is so fun!
I’m having a horrible day, that’s why I’m on “gratias”, finally.
Thank you, Lord, for a mother who listens and prays. Thank you for a job where I CAN step out for a little while to get a breather, get coffee, cry on the phone. Thank you that I can help others, even though I keep thinking my job isn’t a truly “meaningful” one. Thank you, Lord, that I can still pray, even though my heart’s not really in it at the moment. Thank you that Steve was there to comfort Liam at the dentist. Please help Liam with that, so he’s not afraid. Thank you that Steve is so willing and able to care for our children as he does. Thank you for the opportunity to try helping someone with something different (Blackboard Mobile app). Thank you, Lord, that I’m going to see Marjorie tonight…I really need help today. I don’t know what is going on. Please guide me into comfort and strength to make it through the day without wanting to kill myself or just be killed.
So, I’m needing to muster up as much gratias as possible today, in the wake of budget cuts going into effect tomorrow. I’m not so upset by our losing 20% of Steve’s pay (although it still stinks), but it’s the fact that the stupid President and congress are NOT taking pay cuts themselves. “The word I’m looking for I can’t say because there’s preschool toys present.”
Anyway…thank you, Lord for a job for me that pays decently. That I actually did NOT get a different job that pays less. Thank you for a public library where Liam can get books he really likes. Thank you that I get to pray with Liam in the mornings and try to encourage him in Christ. Thank you that you still love me despite my lack of faith. Thank you for Pastor Todd and his strong encouragement. Thank you for a husband who works so hard for his family and will do whatever it takes for his kids. Thank you for our parents who have supported us in every way possible, at their sacrifice. That they are in love with their grandchildren and pray for them, too. Thank you for the folks who hold the door open for me around the university. Thank you for how Yordanos has been very understanding about timing, doc appointments, etc.