When you’re grateful, and living in gratitude, what comes next? Beyond gratitude, what can there be?
The question came up this week over Thanksgiving Dinner. We settled into a comfortable theme, once again, of talking about thost things we’re most grateful for: family, friends, the circle of our caring… But what’s next. What comes after being grateful for each of those around us, our good health, and the amazing delivery of a God who provided for our eternal security? What comes next?
Eternal gratitude –
“When I first glanced out the window and realized my view was filled to the brim and beyond with evergreens covered in snow, I knew it was the right place for me.” Thoughts from my first daylight view of my temporary home just about three years ago. I had needed that view so desperately, and having it, even temporarily made me a happy girl. Evergreens covered with snow made my heart sing. I was beyond gratitude.
It also meant I was snowed in a strange place, with what I thought was going to be very little food and no cooking ability. I was house sitting a vacant home, and had arrived after dark the night before in a power outage. The real estate agent had let me in, given me the key, and pointed me in the general direction of the only furniture in the house, a bed made up with fresh linen specifically for me – the house sitter. She scooted out into the dark night to get home before the storm hit. We had been expecting wind and some rain, not three days of full on blizzard, with the first day leaving roads impassable.
As dawn arrived, the lemony yellow sunlight revealed more furniture in the home, not much… but some. And a pantry filled with canned soups, crackers, and summer sausage. I rummaged through the kitchen long enough to find a pan to heat the soup, and sliced off some of the summer sausage to eat with crackers. I was happy.
What comes next?
I carry a cell phone, so without power, I was good for only a short period of time. When the power didn’t come back on the next day, I was searching more for sources of heat than a means of communication. A gas fireplace would have been fine if it hadn’t required an electric ignition. I found a log fireplace in another room, and enough wood and kindling for a good roaring fire. Heat found me and I soaked it up for a bit before I had gone in search of food. A gas stove made cooking easy, I only had to light burners, and they worked. Oh yay! And the owner had stocked the pantry for emergencies.
Gratitude. Beyond gratitude. Hanging out for three days totally snowbound with “nothing to do” might be a problem for some, but I carry books in my bag… And a spiral notebook. I filled the spiral notebook. I read my book. And I read the Bible that I carry too. At night, when candlelight or firelight was the only light, I gazed out the window at the stars, and sang songs I remembered from years of singing. I love to sing, and an empty house is the perfect place to sing at the top of your lungs.
Is it scary to be alone for three days, snowbound?
No. I wasn’t scared. I was enthralled in the mystery of the storm. In fact, I was thrilled with the opportunity.
I was engaged in learning about myself. I wanted to learn about me…
Beyond gratitude – you find blessing.
I remember the simple delight I felt on the third morning, when a neighbor who had realized someone was at the house showed up to check it out. ANOTHER live being? YAY. So blessed to open the door and find someone standing there, with a bag of baked goodies, and a thermos of coffee. I invited him in and we had a great time discussing the storm. He’d been confined to his home for three days too, alone, about 400 yards from me. But he had groceries and had spent most of the time baking!
We both laughed at how grateful we felt just knowing from the smell of the air (fireplaces give off a human aroma) that there were other live beings within distance of our “sniffers.”
When you seek to be grateful in all things, you find blessing, beyond gratitude.
At Thanksgiving Dinner – Beyond Gratitude.
Looking around at my family over Thanksgiving dinner, I can only experience the deepest gratitude. We’re all healthy, incredibly strong, capable, fulfilled, and our hearts are full of love. We are blessed.
Does this mean life is perfect? No. I could list the ills we face, the issues that have befallen each of us, and the unspeakable sorrows that we’ve each experienced in our lives. We aren’t where we thought we’d be five years ago, now. We may not have met many of the goals we had set for ourselves back then… But we’re still here, taking stride after stride to make the next goal. Reaching. Pushing for the light. We’re still grateful for where we are, what we have, and who we have in our lives. And we’re grateful for the struggle too – because after the struggle – beyond gratitude, comes blessing. Incredible, abundant, and overwhelming blessing.
Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of another day, another week, another year with these incredible people I call my family.
Beyond Gratitude, is blessing.