The terminology took me back… I wasn’t ready to be grateful yet. But I was grateful, I just had to remember that I was grateful for ALL things.
Kevin Cullis is one of my favorite clients. Not only is he a friend I can rely on to ‘show up’ when I need a shoulder, but he’s a mentor, friend, and tech-y client who listens when I offer up advice. Our friendship evolved out of a life era… mutual loss sometimes brings a different sort of result, and the process of overcoming the loss can create mutual reliance that defies explanation. On the phone, after a short business discussion, he had used a phrase that reverberated throughout the day, “be grateful in ALL things.” and he had emphasized the ALL.
This had been a personal season for me…
As the world had spun out of control over the past six years, there had been one constant, everyone (except me) in our family had experienced excellent personal health. Through all the distance, the long drives, the crazy housing shifts, the job changes, the business crisis, the world caving in around us, our family had maintained good health. My one health crisis had ultimately been a minor shift in my personal life, and didn’t change a lot or even really effect my children or their families, only me. So… We’d spun through it will a modicum of acceptance, relief, and gratitude, that “everyone is healthy” we’ll make it… And we had.
For the first time, I felt grounded, capable of survival, and even… maybe, visible to the light of a better day.
The coffee was made, I’d sat down at the computer with my cup, dressed for the day, and ready to greet yet another great day, working on a project that had given me much satisfaction. Then, the phone rang…
In a matter of seconds, I rushed out directions to my daughter who had been in the kitchen quietly fixing her toddler’s breakfast as I pulled on my shoes, grabbed my purse and keys and rushed out the door to drive 75 miles away to the Children’s Hospital where my older daughter’s youngest son had been taken after having a seizure at school. While my younger daughter robo called her sister, who was out of range of the cell phone – at work, I drove the horrible miles through unending traffic to get to him, praying for open roads, as I drove. I quickly dialed one friend and uttered a prayer request through the tears that appeared the moment I heard her voice, then got off the phone to drive.
The next three weeks fluttered by as we sought explanations, details, care, instructions, support, and health for our boy to be his normal self again. Through tears, I talked my daughter back to “base” after she witnessed his third seizure, attempting calm myself, knowing that I was anything but the reassuring voice she needed – that had to be God through me. I prayed, I let Him speak. I heard myself saying logical things, like “he’s back to playing within fifteen minutes, that’s a good thing” and “you were there to hold him, that’s what he needed” and “moms always struggle through these times, but we survive and we grow stronger” even when I didn’t feel stronger. I knew she didn’t feel stronger.
As Thanksgiving arrived, I felt the need to be grateful, but I couldn’t adjust my heart to gratitude for this new experience our family faced. I struggled. I cried myself to sleep some nights, praying for what I wanted. I wanted my grandson to be healthy, and vibrant, and happy again, not fearful, or clingy, or unsure of himself. I wanted to see the light in his eyes, the one not dulled by medication he required to maintain his health.
Then, they arrived for our Thanksgiving the evening before in the midst of the birthday party we were having for his sister, I recognized the light. I saw the life, the abundance of our family together, and I realized that we were full circle – every circle pulling tight together – each supporting another, and this Thanksgiving we celebrated – with a few missing persons, my son and his family are based at Fort Campbell and weren’t able to be home, but everyone else was home, and we thought about him, talked about him, and he was part of our celebration, here or not. And I found gratitude again… I found gratitude in ALL things.
My boy’s eyes…
In all the rush of preparation, I’d cleared off my desk and left my coffee cup sitting in front of the monitor. With a two year old in the house, that isn’t something I ‘normally’ do, but there it was… After the party with the kids playing, I realized something was sticking out of my coffee cup. Then at closer inspection I realized it was a ‘hot wheels car’ – one of the variety that changes color when wet down with warm or cold water. I carried the cup to the kitchen, took the car out and rinsed it off then washed my cup and put it on the counter for morning. When I turned around to walk away from the sink, he was leaning against the refrigerator looking at the floor. I handed him the car and watched the slow grin cross his face, before he looked up at me.
“How did you know it was me?”
“There were no splatters around the cup.” I answered.
“The coffee was cold, so it didn’t turn red.”
“Yeah, well, it’s red now. I washed it in hot water.” I ruffled his hair and he gave me a half side hug, before he ran down the stairs to show off his prize.
How could I not be grateful in ALL things?
There’s such a huge weight lifted off my heart today as I realized we celebrated thanksgiving, with gratitude again, in an amazing celebration. An amazing celebration… I could actually list hundreds of specific things to be gratful for this season, but I’m not going to, I’m going to list ONE. Life.
I’m grateful for LIFE.
I feel inspired to be grateful for LIFE every single day, every single minute, every single moment – as LIFE is the most precious and natural gift of God’s LOVE. All the changes, all the differences, all the ambiguous realities that come our way, and each moment we are blessed with breath and life in God’s creation – I’m grateful – and inspired to be so…
I pray this season that you are grateful and inspired to be grateful in whatever circumstance you experience today. God bless you!