It has been a year since I started counting up to 1,000 gifts and I completed my goal this week. That is roughly 2.7 things to be thankful for every day (which actually doesn’t sound like all that much right now).
A year ago I sent my first gratitude list to my old roommate working on the Africa Mercy and somewhat stealth-ly started this little journey. This week I walked through the woods and the leaves crunched beneath my feet, so many leaves that, at times, it was impossible to see the trail but for the opening in the trees, and our little black dog panted contently at my side and I reflected on the significance of my year of being thankful.
I now know that simple things can be rituals that fill my soul: tea or coffee in my favorite cup in the morning, morning prayers, open windows, post-night shift mornings that find me curled up next to Chris, sitting with Loki on my lap, farmer’s market produce, individual time with friends.
I have found that cataloging the things I am thankful for has made me more aware of the things I really enjoy, I have found what makes me tick: coffee with friends, snickerdoodle cookies. working out with Chris, the changing of the seasons, playing in the dirt/doing yard work, knitting, making dinner for friends, having a clean kitchen sink and getting real paper mail.
These things happen every single day, they make me happy and remind me of God’s generous and abundant provision.
I think being thankful has caused me to be more present, in a in-the-moment sort of way. For many years, I have had a sense that I was waiting for the next “big” thing … event … trip … life change ... something. During this year I have focused on enjoying today, weather if be a laundry/house work/mail tending to sort of day or a crazy/fun/adventure filled sort of day. Both are needed: one is like the kidneys of life (taking care of business) the other is like the brain of life (where the magic happens). And who’s to say that taking care of business can’t also be magical? If you talk to a human anatomy prof or a renal doc, they may beg to differ that the magic happens in the brain but that kinda thwarts my analogy right now so I’m not going o go there. Anyway, I have managed to find the magic and gifts in the everyday and I consider it a blessing to be on this journey.
I am happier and more content and it so simple to explain: I encounter God everyday by being cognizant of the gifts that surround me.
I hope that when I am 82 my list will be long … 20,000 gifts … 50,000 gifts … I’m not sure what is realistic.
I hope I will teach my grandchildren the importance of being thankful and maybe they’ll say “grandma, you were alive when they had blogs?!?!?”
I hope that my grave stone will say “grateful child of God.”
But most importantly, I hope I will give thanks in all things and for all things and that the spirit of thanksgiving will lead me closer to the Giver.
And so …
1001. this past year
1002. God’s generous and abundant provision
1003. street lights on a dark road
1004. the sky right before the sun sets
1005. the so quiet doggy on mornings when I am sleeping
1006. a near-perfect work schedule for next month
1007. attending a new biblestudy
1008. listening to a little girl read a Psalm
1009. connecting with a couple … before we moved, Chris and I didn’t really meet many new couple friends so it is novel we realize that we both really like the couple we just met and that feeling seems mutual as dinner invitations hang generously in the air.
1010. listening to majestic music while running errands
1011. the little things Chris does with and for me
1012. feeling loved and cherished from said things
1013. hearing my dear friend talk about her new motherhood
1013. finding "our place" - a beautiful park on Lake Michigan
1014. losing Loki's ball in Lake Michigan ('cuz he simply wouldn't fetch it) and being reminded of a similar incident on a super fun date when we were still dating. (Loki took the loss of his ball much better than Cinder's did though ... but we did eventually get Cinder's ball out of that little lake in Lanesboro)
Hope you all have a beautiful, blessed weekend!