Gratitude anchors us to the present moment. What I’m thankful for today may not be what I was thankful for yesterday or what I may be thankful for tomorrow. Still for me, thankfulness requires that I slow down and think about my blessings.
Recently my spirituality group was encouraged to list our blessings and to reflect on what matters most to us and what matters least. I was the only one who didn’t mention God. Not that I don’t think that God is important, I just didn’t single him (her) out. Instead I chose to list experiences for which I was and am and will always be thankful.
In retrospect, I see God in each of these experiences. That’s kind of how God and I operate. We tend to sneak up on one another. I’m not a “God is my co-pilot” kind of guy. I’m more of a “Hey God, you still out there?” “Remember me?” kind of guy.
Because I have been blessed with being accepted as part of a group of prayerful and spiritual believers, I was given the opportunity to acknowledge my blessings and was reminded once again to be eternally grateful for this life of mine. My friends cover me with their faith when my doubt is hanging out!
So here’s my list:
- Our wedding day – As the sunlight pouring through the windows framed Deb as she walked down the aisle.
- The birth of our son Tyson – and realizing how startlingly he looked like me.
- The birth of our daughter Bess – when I said to Deb, “A girl!” “What’d we do now?” And the nurse chided me because she thought I didn’t want a daughter. I was thrilled, I just wasn’t prepared for a daughter. Everyone (including the doctor) had said it was another boy.
- The birth of our son Blake – How the young nurse assumed that Blake was our first child because in her words, “You seem so happy!” And of course, we were!
- On Bess’ wedding day when she squeezed my arm and said, “Thanks Dad for everything, I feel like a princess today.”
- The time that we toured Westminster Abbey for hours with our 3-year-old granddaughter Charlise, with all its beauty and amazing history, while she sat contentedly in her stroller and then as we left and we crossed the River Thames and she pointed excitedly and said “water”. That moment was pure unadulterated joy!
- Conversations with my Uncle Ted (Deb’s uncle actually) and always hearing him say just before we hung up “Love you Bud!” I miss him every day.
- Grandson Noah’s birth – While looking through the nursery window with Travis and 2-year-old Anna as an old man in a wheelchair approached and asked Anna if that was her brother. He asked her “Do you think I could get a baby brother?” She said, “Yes, but not this one!” She claimed him from day one.
- Living in England for a year and feeling like at any moment someone might come up to us and call us out as frauds or impostors because we were just a couple of small town Midwesterners making it up as we went along.
- Being with my Aunt Gene near her death. Watching as a sense of peacefulness came over her. I will never forget the gentleness and love given her by her nurse. It took the fear of death away.
- Being kissed goodnight and told I’m loved every single day.
So God has been there all along in each of these moments and countless many more. This Thanksgiving I am thankful. I was thankful before and will be thankful again. And again.