I used to think that I was thankful. If you had asked me if I was a grateful person, I would not have thought for a moment before answering in the affirmative.
Then I was smacked with the reality of humanity.
It seemed God had me on a path to see how much I truly had for which to be grateful, yet often took for granted.
A childhood illness left me with a physically deformed leg and foot that I’ve always hidden in shame. I have one foot that is a woman’s size 6, and another that is half that size and fits a small child’s shoe. Finding shoes has always been a nightmare-definitely not the fun shopping event many women seem to enjoy. After “reconstructive” surgery left me worse off than I had started, none of the shoes in my closet fit. The only thing I could find to wear were oversized boots that practically flopped off my mangled foot. I , and complained to God. Why would He allow this to happen?
And then I saw it. A homeless man who wore “shoes” that now had gaping holes no longer protecting the souls of his feet. And yet he wore a smile. I had nothing to complain about, and everything to be thankful for, including oversized boots that protected my feet and a home to which I could return every night.
I had things to do and my husband had forgotten to pick up a few items on the way home from work, leaving me feeling frustrated. Perhaps providentially, at the very moment I was tempted to complain and bemoan his forgetfulness, I received a text message from a friend going through a divorce from an abusive husband. I had nothing to complain about, and so much to be grateful for including a husband who unselfishly runs more errands for me than I could ever repay.
As I ducked into my car and fought to close the heavy door that when fully extended was beyond my reach, I grumbled by being pelted by the rain coming down in sheets. Stopping at the signal light, I glanced in my rearview mirror to see an elderly woman carrying two plastic bags of groceries while using nothing more than a newspaper to shield her head from the torrential storm. In the warmth of my car, wet but not drenched, I had nothing to complain about and everything to be thankful for including a vehicle to transport me anywhere I needed to go safe from the elements.
Returning home from the grocery store I griped to no one but the fur babies standing by my side that I was one bag shy of what I had purchased moments before. Not having time to return to the store immediately, the recipe I planned to make for dinner would have to be creatively reinvented. Yet I bellyached about the inconvenience. As I put the other purchased items away, a piece of the day’s mail caught my attention from the kitchen counter. Prominently displayed on the envelope was a photo of three children in poverty from another nation. Ravaged from hunger, their chests were concave while their stomachs were distended and their eyes recessed. I had nothing to complain about and everything to be thankful for including plenty of choices of food to eat daily, and the finances to buy more.
As we enter this holiday season, my eyes are wide and my heart is open to all I have to be thankful for, and all those less fortunate than I. My thanks this Thanksgiving turns first to the God who not only provides for my every need, but who gave me such an eye-opening revelation.
Do you ever find yourself taking your provision for granted and “forgetting” to be thankful? What changes can you make to be more thankful for the not-so-little things that for others would be life-changing?