I pick up my scorched oven mitts off the damp, October ground, leaving flakes of charred material and black soot on the earth to mark the spot. There since midnight, they are a testament to the previous night’s disaster. Bright red cloth contrasting with charcoal black. Stationary, since I threw them out the door, onto the step and then again onto the grass where I proceeded to hose them down until the flames subsided—all after they had caught on fire from the heat emitted from my oven burner. And this: because I had brushed the knob of the burner (ever so gently) as I reached into the cupboard for a bowl. Having sat back down at my computer to type, I was oblivious to the smolder, until smoke began to curl around the cupboard, up toward the ceiling: alerting me to the calamity.
If I had only:
Not wanted a cookie.
Not reached for the bowl.
Not brushed the knob.
Not left the oven mitts on the burner.
If I had only.
Life is wrought with “if onlys”.
This week has been a series of unfortunate events, a series of “if onlys”…or so it seems. There is always something to complicate the day. Be that arriving late for appointments, forgetting appointments, or scheduling too many appointments. Be that day-to-day complications like not enough sleep, sickness and low energy. Be that bigger-than-everyday complications like additional work meetings, late night projects, lost luggage, health concerns, and worries that go deeper than surface level. Add to the list, if you will: parenting issues, relationship issues, marriage issues. Life.
There is just always something.
How can we say thanks when life is just not what we want it to be? How can we say thanks when things are just not how we wish they were? How can we say thanks when we don’t FEEL particularly thankful for everything we’ve been given? Giving thanks for both the little things on our ever filling plate…along with the bigger things that make our lives chaotic and stressful?
Is it even possible?
I wake up in the morning to the smell of the charred remains of the previous day. Add to this, the cheesecake boiled over in the oven last night so I now realize that I have the pleasure of a pre-breakfast, ‘make-work’ project. I can now officially confirm that I will be late for church. And on the very day that I have to lead the singing.
I can feel the resentment rising within. Give thanks for this?
How easily I forget that gratitude is a state of the heart. A choice of the soul embracing life in its fullness, both the bitter and the sweet. Joel Osteen: “One of the main reasons that we lose our enthusiasm in life is because we become ungrateful..we let what was once a miracle become common to us. We get so accustomed to his goodness it becomes a routine..”
Life is hard. Of a truth: it is not easy. But it is always a miracle, a gift to have the opportunity to live.
The air in our lungs.
The roof over our head.
The clothes that cover.
The shoes that fit.
The water we drink.
The food we intake.
For the everyday, commonplace miracles of life. For both the bitter and the sweet.
We are eternally grateful.
This thanksgiving I offer gratitude for the miracles. Everyday and otherwise. They are what cause me to remember how much I have.
And impress on me how much I must be grateful.
I’m sorry you have had such a bad week, & your series of unfortunate events keeps growing but there are two things I can say and I only hope it brings you some comfort. 1) God never gives us more than we can handle and even though you may wish he didn’t think you could handle so much, he’s there with you to help you carry the burden or Carry you as you carry it. 2) You are never alone. God is always with you and he understands that in life we are not always thankful for his gifts at the time he gives them, but he knows when we have accepted them in our hearts. He knows that like all mere humans we are loved by him the most and like all things in life it takes time to see the gift in the unfortunate events. So tonight when I pray, I will give thanks that you are safe because your words give me strength as a student ,as a Christian and as an a adult in this crazy life, but I will also pray for an easy week, that you find acceptance in God’s gifts to you each day and more importantly that you remember to trust in God to keep you safe and help you through your struggles. God bless you and your family.
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