|Family on my parents' rooftop deck on 4th of July|
With the 4th of July holidays, I am posting my contribution to the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience a couple of days late. But can gratitude ever arrive too tardy?
It's a deceptively simple concept, this gratitude. This journey to One Thousand Gifts that Ann started and many of us have joined is a blessing that never comes too late.
It's not for God's benefit that we thank Him for the little (and large) gifts He sprinkles through our days...if we but see them. He is giving us opportunities to "Practice the Presence of God," as Brother Lawrence teaches us through his little book of the same title. And if a 17th century dishwashing monk can teach us so much about seeing God in the little, common, ordinary things of this life, how much more does God Himself teach us if we are simply willing to "taste and see that the Lord is good"!
Noting the ordinary, day-to-day blessings heightens our senses, grants us word and phrase to express them, and brings us into a fresh mindset, is eager to discover the next blessing under our proverbial noses, and then the next blessing, and the next...
...until we realize that all life is blessing.
Even those things that don't seem to be blessing, are blessing indeed...if we but open eyes beyond the tangible and see eternity glimmering through pain and loss.
The hard things, like illness exhausting and children lost and work too slow and bills teetering and quarrels rife--these seemingly sorrowful, hurtful parts of our lives can indeed birth blessings if our eyes remain fixed on eternity.
When pain becomes too much to bear...when mere ache become shooting flames blazing joints and marrow...when hurt delves too deep for tears...we find the One who always waits, always listens, always comforts. He became pain for us, so that He could save us from the ultimate suffering of eternity without Him...eternity without Love.
So with thanks I continue on, jotting the journey to One Thousand Gifts, thanking God this day for:
551. ...blistering heat of beach sunshine warming to marrow of my always-cold bones
552. ..."And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free, and I won't forget the men [and women] who died to give that right to me..." as we celebrate 235 of independence
553. ...family gathered to celebrate nation's birth, telling old stories of escapades and family foibles, singing to patriotic music as fireworks blaze in the distance
554. ...the sapphire of ocean, crashing beneath our feet, as we walked to the end of Crystal Pier where Pacific melts into horizon, a sea of blues
555. ...joy of beach walking with boys, crunching sand underfoot, despite cane in hand and price of pain to be paid in hours to come
556. ...quiet glory of praying His Psalms, peace and comfort and grace suffusing my heart, mind, and soul as Word washes weariness, replacing anxiety with joy
557. ...blessing of summer storms, with lightning brightening dark skies; thunder crackling and crashing overhead, shaking windows; rain, blessed rain, pattering on rooftop, drip-dropping from pointed oak leaves, saturating thirsty earth
558. ...the coolness and relief the summer rains bring, temperatures plummeting twenty degrees in fifteen minutes as dark clouds billow overhead, tumbling over each other in stiff winds
559. ...the sweetness of homegrown peaches, juice dripping from smiling mouths and sticky chins
560. ...the grace of touch as he walks behind my chair, placing his hand on my shoulder--love filling, overflowing all
Gratitude hides in the dark shadows, grace peeking through pain...when we see with His Eyes.
Rejoicing as summer rains pitter-patter down from dark skies,