I must admit: sometimes I think these “30 Days of Thankfulness” posts in November are kind of cheesy.
I mean, shouldn’t we be thankful every day of the year?
We should, of course. But lately, I’ve realized that I’ve fallen away from that discipline. The negativity of life has been so heavy lately that it’s been hard to look for the silver linings behind all the clouds. So I’m making myself find them in November, in the hopes that this focus on gratitude will help me recover some of the joy that’s been missing from daily life.
I truly believe that gratitude is one of the primary keys to happiness, even if my own behavior fails to reflect that sometimes. When I was in my early 20s, I had an elderly Christian friend who exuded this kind of simple joy. We called her Sister Lowman, and she led the hospital ministry I volunteered with at our church. She barely came up to my shoulder, a rounded, gray-haired widow who needed a cane to get around her tiny, government-subsidized apartment. I used to kind of chuckle to myself over how often she would exhale little prayers of gratitude. We’d be driving down the road in her massive Pontiac Bonneville and she would just randomly sigh, “Thank you, Jesus” or “Thank you, Father!” One time, I asked her why she always did that. She said, “Because He’s gotten us safely down the road so far!” as if that was the most obvious thing in the world to be grateful for in that moment.
My younger self found her behavior eccentric, but now I understand the concept she was teaching me: no matter what is going on, there’s always something to be thankful for…even if it’s just driving five miles and arriving at a destination safely. Or just reflecting on the fact that Jesus loves you.
So, that is what I want to be grateful for on this first day of November: the gift of faith. Just the basic privilege of being connected to a God so much bigger than I, so much more powerful than anything life throws at me.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” -Hebrews 12:28
Thank you, God, for the privilege of plugging into your unshakable kingdom.