“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?”
— William A. Ward
Dang. Now doesn't that put things into perspective?
So often I get caught up in my lists and sticky note reminders of To-Dos that I forget the Why in the reason I wake up each morning. The Why in sending my kids off to school. The Why in making dinner or doing laundry or banging my head against my desk to get the next sentence out in the novel I'm working on.
When the internet goes out, my frustration is immediate. Instead, I should remember what it was like to exist with no internet at all. Before the world was instantly connected at the click of a key or two. Before computers the size of small houses went the way of laptops and tablets that process word docs but also music.
When my car won't start or I'm almost out of gas, my frustration is immediate. Instead, I need to think back to that first car I owned - a 1987 Renault. It wasn't pretty. And frankly, it probably wasn't even safe. But guess what? It was mine and the only maintenance it required was to spit in the gas tank and it would go.
Then there's my biggest accomplishment of my life. And there are four of them. My kids. I can't even tell you the utter chaos, irritation, vexation, and genuine befuddlement these breathing mongrels have brought into my life. Trust me, with my oldest being twenty, I've had plenty of those emotions and more that could probably stuff a freight train. And like my other examples, I often find myself focusing on all the struggle instead of the miracle of being entrusted with four other human beings.
If I let that thought simmer, just for a moment, I'm overcome with tears. Then the images of their births reel across my inner screen. And though there were four, each birth was individual and different. Memories shift to older times, battles with bedtime or prayers or brushing teeth. All of which bring a quirky smile to my face now.
How is it that we lose ourselves in the mist of turmoil to look back in hindsight and chuckle? What prompts us to be so in the negative that we lose sight of the bigger picture?
This Thanksgiving, I'm making myself a promise: to focus on the good and positive in my life, letting the rest slide into the ditch. The times when my kids argue, I'll be thankful that I even have them. The times I'll be stuck in traffic, I'll be thankful that I have a care and the money to fill it with gas. The next time it rains or snows or the winds blow strongly that it ruins a day at the beach or camp, I'll be thankful for at least being alive.
So, I have to ask. What attitude do you want to exercise?
During this post of being so thankful, I must give a big birthday shout-out to one of my kids. Kate is our third child and she turns 15 today!
Happy Birthday, Katelynn!
To my American brothers and sisters - have a safe, wonderful, and grateful Thanksgiving holiday. See you next week. This question is for everyone: What's your favorite holiday treat?