Catching my eye as I passed our Tree of Gratitude, a leaf etched with B A L L S. Balls. I giggle and ask the youngest about that one.
By far the most prolific appreciator of our Tree, she responds, “You know, play balls, soccer balls, footballs.”
Expressing thankfulnesses in construction paper leaves. So easy and neat and clean and Pinterest worthy.
But as I sit down to fill out my own leaves, uncertainty sinks in.
Am I truly grateful? If gratitude is more than a feeling, then something more is required.
Gratitude and ungratefulness coexisting. Oil and water, seemingly at odds, sloshing about and filling in the cracks.
What am I thankful for? Intrinsically, everything. Breath inhaled, life, warmth. Family, love, encircling. Shelter, home, sustenance. My daily bread. Jesus, grace, mercy. Breath exhaled, rest.
What am I not thankful for? Conversely, everything else. Am I less grateful when I cannot feel joy? When I crave something more? Does my uncertainty negate all I have been given?
The hubs talked to the Christmas family we’re sponsoring with his work team. He told me the dad asked him if they were going to be able to get a bed. A bed. These parents have been sleeping on their apartment floor in sleeping bags. Their children, on an old couch.
And suddenly, even little things seem too much. My gratitude for a working dishwasher, a hot cup of coffee, seem trivial. I don’t deserve any of it.
We love to argue just how deserving we are. We worked hard for the things we have. We are. We have. We deserve each and every one. Gold stars awarded, pats on the back given. Leaves on our Tree of Gratitude.
Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.” John 9:1-5
While the sun shines, the leaves may wither, but the One who sent me is at work.
And so instead of looking within for thankfulness, I look gratefully to what God can do through me.
There is no reason my neighbors should sleep on the floor, and if you agree, I humbly ask for your help. Partner with us on giving this family some beds. A place to rest their weary heads and hold their bodies up off the floor.
And in doing so, may they feel the love and light of the One who sends us.