It can seem, at times, like everyone is at the train station hopping on to different dreams, and I can’t find mine so I think I don’t have one, when maybe, the truth is that it just hasn’t found me yet because I’m still not ready. And oh, how this waiting changes when I choose to give thanks.
Loneliness can be a cloud that seems it will extend into all the future, when a new friendship is really just a coffee date away. And even though it takes all of my remaining energy to drag myself to the car and meet her, her laughter is a sweet honey, bringing nourishment to my soul. And so for her, today, I give thanks.
Deprivation, so often, is just a flip of a coin from knowing myself infinitely blessed, if the currency is wealth or if it’s counted in the hundred times a smile has found its way to my lips today, or in the legs I used to walk with a friend, or the eyes I enlisted to read a story that is still plodding through the depths of my heart. And so for the ten thousand gifts and intricacies that work as one symphony so that I may live on to know the blessings and sorrows of life, I give thanks.
I can think I’ve forgotten someone I loved, who no longer roams the earth with me, because I can’t remember the lines of their face. But with the music of an old melody, I am right back in the car with them, and I can remember exactly the way in which their face was particularly radiant when they sang it. And so, for his life, and the laughter it brought me, I give thanks.
Change has a face that is scary but a heart that is good, and it’s easy to run from its appearance, to hold on to what once was, whether childhood or a lost love or a distant memory. But the knowingness that each day matters swings through, and it’s enough to make me see that all the yesterdays are what fills my personhood today, and they are good, but I must keep living today for it to fill me tomorrow. And so, for all the pleasant and painful yesterdays, and all the joys and sorrows of today, and for all the unknowns of tomorrow they prepare me for, I give thanks.
Sometimes, surprise is just around the corner, like after too many days of winter, when I forget what it is even like to feel the sun on my face, and just like that the trees bud and the flowers come out and fill the world with their jubilant song of arrival, causing me to wonder at how I ever doubted their coming. And so, for the unpredictable, I give thanks.
Oh, that each of us would learn to love and rejoice in life, not because it gives us exactly what we want, but because of all the ways it surprises us with its unexpected pleasures and gifts. That we would learn to see each moment, each today, each right now, as a gift to be thoroughly experienced and fully known. That we would learn to live with palms outstretched, not controlling but knowing that we are loved and so today is for our good.
That we would take surprises and the unexpected and the choose to rejoice.
That seeing through these shifting windows would be our giving of thanks.
“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17