In All Things

Syria.  Chemical Weapons.  9/11.  Putin.  Unemployment Rate.  People persecuted.  Rising costs of food, housing and education.  Rodman in North Korea.  

Syria, from cnn.com

Syria, from cnn.com

There’s this scripture that says to be thankful in all circumstances.

I’ve often read it with a big fat “Seriously?!” response.  “All circumstances” includes too much...way too much.  There’s just so much sad out there that it’s all I can do not to post a bunch of puppy pictures, or a video of the Crimson Tide’s latest touchdown just to make us all feel better.  

I once heard a pastor explain that scripture by comparing a bad circumstance to getting cut in line at Wal-Mart.  That’s a bit rich, western world shallow when ALL actually involves disease, horrific poverty, and every evil people do to one another from here to China and back.  Needless to say, I never set foot inside that church again and continued my search to understand gratitude in heartache.

I guess I still don’t fully get it.  But I have learned that focusing completely on all the bad, makes you miserable...especially the bad you can’t change.  Especially the bad in the people you can’t change.  

That disease you can’t heal.  That way of thinking you can’t turn.  That addiction you can’t stop.

And when I make a deliberate point of being thankful for her laughter, instead of angry at the tumor, something inside me is lifted.  Some dark places get a sliver of light.

Maybe that’s what joy in all things is about.  Not a command to suck it up from a self-loving, needy god.  But a blessing to give your battered mind and soul a small break in the storm.

I’m thankful we care enough about the atrocities of war to fight over what to do about it.  I’m thankful to live in a country who wants to remember those lost.  I’m thankful we’ve been around for more than 200 years and our presidents still have to step down at the end of their terms.  I have sincere gratitude for people creating jobs and caring for those without food and shelter.  I’m extremely grateful the government saw fit to pay for my four years at the University of Alabama.  

And I guess I’m thankful someone is talking to that crazy dude in North Korea.  

 

From Fear to Gratitude

If someone had come up to me when I was 14 years old, and told me my life would one day look like it does now, I would’ve laughed in their face. I would’ve said, “Obviously, I am doing a great job hiding what is really going on for you to think my future would look like that.”

At 14, I couldn’t pass a 6th grade Math, or English test even if you’d given me a cheat sheet. I can still clearly remember the desperation and fear I felt as a 14 year old girl.  The girl scared to dream something better for her life. 

There's no place like home!

There's no place like home!

I think back to that young girl and am disappointed at the limits I placed on myself. Because I AM in a great place.  I have a wonderful job, I’m about to move into my first house all my own, and I have more people in my life who mean the world to me, then I could ever ask for. Life is good. And as the years go on, I’m coming to a point of gratitude for that 14 year old. I am thankful for the grit that kept her going, and the hope that drove her to never give up, even when she felt her dreams weren’t possible.  Even though my past sucked, I wouldn’t change what I have been through. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all of the challenges, upsets and hurt I have experienced.  I know I wouldn’t have the same appreciation for the blessings I have now.

I am all grown up and facing new and different difficulties every day, but experience has taught me, they will all be worth it. 

 

 

"You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings."