The truth is, gratitude isn't always easy. Seeing the depth of poverty in a third world country, sitting at the bedside of someone dying from cancer, being in a plane flying home from the east coast when terrorists struck our nation on 9/11, in all those instances I thought I would never, ever again murmur, grumble, complain, or struggle with ingratitude. However, the truth is, that a difficult or frustrating day comes along and it's a forced act of the will to be thankful, to focus and to find a measly three things to write in my gratitude journal. I'm ashamed, because always, always, always, God is faithful and good and true and kind and so much better to me than I deserve, and yet when things don't go my way, when life is hard, when I have a bad day, I struggle with a sort of temporary blindness to all of that, to all of His blessings. Maybe all these years of keeping my gratitude journal hasn't completely cured me of this, but it has made me aware of the struggle, aware of the sorry fact that ingratitude seems to be the default setting of the flesh, of the unruly mind, will and emotions that perpetually want to be pampered and babied. Like the old tale of the Princess and the Pea, put one uncomfortable dried pea under a stack of comfy mattresses, and what the flesh notices is the pea. What the flesh wants to focus on is not what I'm thankful for but what isn't quite going my way. Keeping my gratitude journal is my way of fighting back, my way of telling my own mind, will and emotions, my flesh, that it's not the boss of me. It's my act of faith that the default setting of ingratitude will be replaced by a renewed, thankful mind one day. It's my way of fighting that temporary blindness that causes me not to see God's goodness all around me. Some have called me stubborn, and not in a complimentary way, but in this case my stubbornness may be an asset. I will not give up on this quest to become a truly grateful, truly thankful child of God.
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)
-a day to rest and recuperate from the trip to Nicaragua
-looking back at the photos of the amazing week there
-an invitation to Easter dinner from our youngest daughter's in-laws
-having the molding, trim and doors inside the house painted beautiful bright, clean white
-making banana bread with my granddaughter
-proud grandgirlies passing their swimming lessons
-early morning coffee and devotions, (still waking up on Nicaraguan time)
-exercise class with some of the young mamas from church
-my daughter bringing my youngest grandson over to see me
-a beautiful sunny afternoon
-yummy taco salad for dinner
-early to bed again-still not fully adjusted back to the right time zone
-texted photos of my granddaughters sportin' green for St. Patrick's Day
-a beautiful day to meet my friend for lunch and a walk by the river
-texts from my friend who's been in Tennessee
-a sweet time of worship and prayer
-a trip to the beach on our day off
-a long walk on the beach as the sun was going down
-taking the long way home, up Hwy. 101
-being a native Oregonian and yet just now finding out there's more than one Haystack Rock in Oregon!
(the more well known one in Cannon Beach and this one by Cape Kiwanda)
-funny photos of my youngest grandson via text
(he was upset at the healthy dinner mama gave him)
-a long hug from my grandson at church this morning
-texts from my oldest granddaughter
-a hummingbird pair
-a wonderful dinner and visit with good friends from church