Day 8 : For Things We Take For Granted

Often people ask how I manage to be happy despite having no arms and no legs. The quick answer is that I have a choice. I can be angry about not having limbs, or I can be thankful that I have a purpose. I chose gratitude.
— Nick Vujicic
To me, a faith in Jesus Christ that is not aligned with the poor...it’s nothing.
— Bono, singer-songwriter and philanthropist

Everything I used and consumed and enjoyed before 8am this morning was a luxury. 

I woke up and used indoor plumbing and running water and a clean toilet. I put on my workout shoes and clean, well-fitting clothes. I used electricity and ground coffee beans (let's be real, my husband did the making because I just CANNOT get it right) and enjoyed fresh coffee. I was in a warm home with a healthy body and a healthy husband and three healthy kiddos; in a home where love is the foundation for our marriage and our children (most of the time).

Water. Plumbing. Shoes. Heat. Love. Clothing. Freedom. Health.

And that was just the start of my day.

Friends, today's post is not to get guilty; it is still to get grateful. It is to look at the grace and favor around us, near us, in our own homes - and to give thanks. And I believe that gratitude is the spark for other beautiful things: sharing, serving, loving, inviting, caring, sacrificing, empathizing, softening, reaching.

Gratitude is a heart posture that is open and humble and very tied to sharing and giving. We cannot possibly be grabby when we are grateful. We are hands open and heart open and lives open. 

What if today, just today, we whispered Thank You for each thing we take for granted? Whispering "thank you for these" as we tie each shoe. Breathing "thank you for coffee" as we take a sip. Murmuring "thank you for water" as I shower with clean, warm water running down my face.

And maybe we will look a little bit crazy, but wouldn't we rather be crazy and grateful than sane and entitled? Maybe that's just me. But I bet not. I've been in really good company with y'all.  

Wherever you are reading this right now, you can see comfort around you, you can sense grace near you, you can see love surrounding you. Through everyday, concrete spoons and bread and shoes to abstract love and peace and joy. Richness is our reality and gratitude is our response. 

Where are the places in our lives we complain the most? Breathe gratitude OVER them and we will breathe life INTO them. Grumbling leads us to dead ends; gratitude leads us to paths of life. 

God, thank you for shoes. For heat. For water. For healthy lungs and hopeful hearts. Help our gratitude to overflow toward grace and good deeds. Free us of guilt and shame, and instead give us grace and joy and gratitude for what we have.  Teach us to then use our freedom to bless others and extend our riches to others. Show us what it is you'd like us to be thankful for today. Show us what you'd like us to give to others. Show us those in need. Show us how to help from our abundance. Our abundance of treasures, of time, of talents. You are a good Father to all. 

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
— 2 Corinthians 9:11
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
— Psalm 107:8-9