You may want to play this all day long today.
Thankfulness should be a continual state. “Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 HCSB).” Even when circumstances are less than ideal, thanking God for them puts us in the exact right position, where we are able to walk with God and are accessible to all the blessings He wants to give us.
As we approach our national festival of Thanksgiving, it’s customary to give thanks for all the good things that have happened since last year. Here is the top of my list:
- My husband is still with me. In March 2020 Greg had a surgery that didn’t go well. He survived, though life is a daily struggle for him. I thank God for each day that we are together.
- Even though Covid-19 is still with us, infections are down, due to vaccination.
- My daughter is getting married next month. (She was supposed to have a wedding last fall, but, you know, Covid.)
- My son, whose job disappeared when the pandemic started, has a new job.
- We’ve reconnected with Greg’s brother and his wife.
- We have lots of people to send Christmas cards to.
- We have a great team of health professionals taking care of us.
- I enjoyed swimming this past summer.
- I’m having fun making quilts.
- We’ve been able to go to church a few times when Greg’s strength has allowed for it.
A few years ago I started a gratitude journal after reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. A lot of my entries are repetitive—thanks for tasks being completed, lost items found, good news from our children. Nevertheless, I think gratitude journaling is a productive discipline. There’s so much disturbing news in our world—shootings, cars running down parade-watchers, political discord, extreme weather, people trampled to death at concerts—that it’s easy to become cynical and depressed. Let’s balance the bad by celebrating the good things in our lives.
Now it’s your turn. Think of three things you’re thankful for, and share them in the comments below. Or if you’ve posted about them in your social media or blog, shoot us a link so we can rejoice with you.
Are you thankful for nature? Click the link and scroll down to hear the author read her poem.
So, is 2020 going down in your history book as the Worst. Year. Ever? Yeah, me too. Greg and I had so many health issues to deal with in 2019 that I thought for sure this year would be an improvement. I was wrong.
Yet even with all the challenges 2020 has brought, there also have been blessings. So I humbly thank God for all the good that I have witnessed:
- My husband is alive. Greg has been struggling with vertigo for years. He’s tried a variety of treatments, and they’ve all helped a little, but he still had debilitating balance problems that caused him to repeatedly fall and hit his head. His last hope was surgery for the spinal stenosis that the doctor determined was the cause of his problems. So on March 11, Greg went into the hospital for a discectomy and fusion from C-3 to C-6 (in his neck). We were assured that this was a routine procedure and he would be in the hospital for one night, two max. Unfortunately, Greg did not snap back after surgery. To make a long story short, he lost the ability to walk and to swallow, and he was extremely disoriented. Eight days after surgery he went into the ICU with aspiration pneumonia, influenza B, H1N1, and metabolic encephalopathy. The next day the hospital closed to visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It would be ten more weeks before we saw him again. Fifteen days after surgery they inserted a feeding tube into his stomach, and sent him to a skilled nursing facility. He came home at the end of May. He still has many physical challenges, but he is slowly improving.
- Greg and his brother have reconnected after very little contact for many years. When I didn’t know if Greg was going to pull through, I realized Peter would be devastated if he didn’t have a chance to talk to Greg. I decided to call and let him know Greg was very ill, so if he did pass away, Peter would at least have a little bit of time to process it. Peter and Greg were eventually able to talk to each other on the phone, and they’ve spoken every week since.
- My son is fully recovered from Covid-19. He’s the only member of our family who’s been stricken, and we were concerned because he’s diabetic. He took good care of himself, and we ran errands for him. (He lives nearby.)
- Friends reached out to us to offer assistance and make sure we’re okay. If I do have a need, I know multiple people I can call for help. I am so touched by the outpouring of love, not only to me, but throughout the country, as people cared for their neighbors.
- We have remained financially solvent through the pandemic so far. We have everything we need. We were able to contribute to the local food bank and also help our son, whose job was eliminated.
- Our other son was promoted in his job. It means a little more money for him, and a lot more responsibility, but it’s nice to see him recognized for his dedication and skill.
- We have hobbies and the time to pursue them. We are both retired teachers, and I am so relieved we don’t have to deal with the difficulties of working during a pandemic. I pray for all the people who are tasked with juggling extra duties and precautions, and I thank God for the people who are keeping our world running.
- Zoom. In March, my Bible study proposed we start meeting again via Zoom. I’d never heard of it, and I was reluctant to learn a new technology. But Zoom and other apps like GoToMeeting have been like a life preserver, allowing me to connect with people I care about (and also to see doctors remotely).
As much as I mourn the loss of life-as-we-knew-it, I am happy that I’m having positive experiences as well. We will get through this rough year if we reach out and help each other.
Thank you, God, for loving us and for your provisions for us. Help us to join in and help our neighbors negotiate this difficult time. Amen.
Now it’s your turn. What are you thankful for this year? Please share in the comments below.