Let me begin by stating the obvious:
I am thankful for sunsets and butterflies, dark chocolate, jazz music, the love of a good man and my daughter’s laughter. I am thankful for the Redwoods, Yosemite, Zion, the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Ocean and every other natural, breath-taking phenomenon. I am thankful for lattes, cappuccino, Chai, green, Earl Grey and Chamomile. I love strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and cookies of all sorts. I’m thankful for blossoming trees, green leaves, orange leaves and bare branches. I’m thankful for scented candles, soft pillows and cozy blankets. Life is a miracle. I am thankful for all of the perfect gifts that God gives as the sustainer of all life. The list is endless, and I will never run out of ways to be grateful for the beauty and wonder of it all.
However, there are other, not-so-obvious things I am thankful for, that I believe expose more of the truth of my soul than anything in that first paragraph ever could, and they are these;
I am thankful that I was born with a cleft palate. It has helped keep vanity at bay and built the drive to become a person of depth and substance. I am thankful for that little boy in pre-school who made fun of me because I looked different, it hurt my feelings, but it taught me what not to do to others.
I am thankful that I suffered from asthma as a child. The love and patience my mother showed me in the wee hours, while rocking me and willing me to breathe, established a bond with her that was unbreakable even now that she has completed her journey on earth.
I am thankful for my mistakes. I hate to make them, which points to pride, and pride is something I am in an all-out war to eradicate. I know of no better path to that end than to embrace and accept my mistakes. It is with a humble soul that God can commune, and that is where I want to be.
I am thankful for the times I feel that no one understands me. It is during those times the Gentle Whisper of God infuses truth to my soul that I am known intimately by God, and what more could I ask for than that?
I am thankful for the times I’ve struggled with discontentment. Through those times I have fought and complained and moaned and pity-partied until Divine Light illuminated my path and led me to a new understanding that circumstances do not breed contentment or discontentment, and that only God can satisfy. Beyond that, it’s foolishness.
I am thankful for wrong choices. They have helped me understand God’s grace.
In this season of thankfulness, it is easy to be grateful for the many pleasures of this life, but I believe the pleasures are made more vibrant when they are viewed through the filter of pain, difficulty and sorrow.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-8
I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13