We talked long as we ate black currents from her bushes, my friend and I, soaking up the sun.
She told me of her friend: “She was older when she married, and their marriage is ok, but she’s not happy. She doesn’t like to be with my children, and she never comes to visit us. She wanted to have children, so maybe it hurts too much to be around them. She loves to give gifts, but says she hates to receive them. I don’t know how I can help her. She’s so alone, and has always been. What do I have that can help her? What’s the best way I can show her I love her–make her donuts every week? What do you think I should do? I wish you could talk with her. I wish she could read your book.”
I wanted to weep because I could be that lady except for God’s scandalous grace and my choices.
I said, “I’d love to talk with her–someday when I learn Polish better. But the thing she needs most is to give thanks now. You and I both know that both of us have a wonderful life, but there are still things we cry about. We’ll always have imperfections to deal with no matter where we live or who we’re married to or what dream has come true.
The one thing God asks is that we thank Him. Just this last Saturday, He told me very clearly You must thank me for this season of aloneness, these responsibilities, this experience. It doesn’t mean that I’m always dancing and laughing. I can be honest with God. David often did that. But always the rant must end in trust, rest, and thanks, even if we have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck to say it.”
It’s good for me to hear myself say these things, otherwise sometimes I’d forget them.
Last night a friend and her son dropped in at school just to see if I was ok, or if I was too lonely. I’d have talked longer with her but another friend was coming to my house, who ended up staying til midnight. Life is very good. A long bike ride, eating berries in the sun, watching children play in water, drinking tea, a rich, absorbing book, a non-English-speaking friend who gave me a ride and was most gracious with my stumbling Polish.
My Thanks Journal is still the best discipline in my life. Tonight the list will be long.
4 thoughts on “Today’s Thanks”
And I am grateful to you for introducing me to Ann V. I, too, am finding the discipline of the gratitude journal to be life-changing. When I neglect it for a while, it soon begins to show in my attitude… Amazing how a change of perspective makes soo much difference!
“But always the rant must end in trust, rest, and thanks, even if we have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck to say it.” You are right, oh so right. Thanks for reminding me of this truth.
Your posts inspire me. I don’t leave a huge trail of comments behind me, but I do want you to know I read your words and they bless me.
Your life is beautifully encouraging.
Your post could be on my list of things to be thankful for today — God bless you.
I am glad you mentioned that its okay to be honest with God. I have come through a season in my life where I was deeply disappointed and hurt by other Christians, and crying out to God about it. (Now I can see so clearly His hand of protection and His mercy in keeping me from entering a situation very like the friend you mentioned in the post.) The whole experience deepened and strengthened my walk with God, but at the time others put tremendous pressure on me to not express my lament, or even to acknowledge my questions about where God was. Somehow I was supposed to completely skip that step, and go directly to “surrender” and praise. I have reached thanksgiving and praise, but being willing to go down into the valley first has made the thanks so much sweeter, and His comfort so much more comforting.
I enjoy your posts, someday I hope we can meet in person.