Are We Grateful Anymore?

Hello weekend musers … I have a word to muse on this weekend, “grateful” and the reason is it seems there is so little gratefulness anymore. Doing some shopping this week while on our days off from camphosting, I mostly heard people whining, upset they couldn’t get what they wanted, or what they wanted had gone up in price, etc. People were kind of cranky and I knew it would be easy to fall in-step with them as well.

It’s a given in our world today that struggling is the headliner from tornadoes to hurricanes, flooding, horrific wildfires, again another surge in Covid, and so many without jobs, without homes, without…fill in the blanks, there’s a long list for sure.

Yet, the Apostle Paul reminds us in his first letter to the church in Thessalonika (5:18 ESV) to: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Did you notice that 3-letter word ‘all’ – that tiny word is huge as all means everything, period. How can one be thankful when their home has been burned down and they have nowhere to live? Or their loved one has died from Covid, or-or-or—uh oh, ALL, there it is, in ALL things. Paul, how on earth can we do this? Did you do this in your ministry? Indeed he did and his life wasn’t easy one bit. In fact, in ended with his beheading yet look at what he has left behind for us—wisdom for living our lives and we should be grateful!

Last week we had some pretty torrential rains and for those camping in tents, it’s a bummer. But we had one couple that came and while checking them in and trying not to get all of us soaked in 15 seconds, the lady laughed as she raised her hands in the rain and said, “how refreshing, God is nourishing the earth.” Her face was filled with delight as the rain came down on her hair, her glasses, and got her thoroughly soaked. I started to laugh, and I said, “I wasn’t sure you’d arrive as tent camping in this weather isn’t so much fun.” He reply to that was, “We can’t wait, we haven’t gotten outside this past year with the pandemic, our sick parents, and having to move because we lost our home. But we have nice little apartment and we found our old tent and we are going to relish the outdoors.”

How do you answer such gratefulness and enthusiasm? But her joy was exactly what I needed. She didn’t see the rain as a ‘damper on their camping’ but a gift for a thirsty land out here in the Southwest. One can learn a lot of theology from campers!!

They stayed 3 days, half of it rain and the other half beautiful sunshine and new wildflowers. The went back and forth over to the boat ramp to kayak and fish, rain or sunshine, and every time they stopped to share something that was joyful and fun. I looked forward to seeing them those 3 days and truly missed them when they checked. I needed her “attitude of gratitude” and I told her that before they left. She waved with a smile and said, “we’ll see you later in September.” I can’t wait for their return.

At the end of our 7 days of hosting, her enthusiasm still stayed with me, and that precious smile she had. They had lost almost everything and they were grateful. I cannot even come close to that kind of loss. I get grumpy when I cannot find my English muffins on the shelf, much less the coffee cream I like that seems to be constantly out of stock. I need to impress her smile and attitude into the folds of my mind and heart where it can daily remind me what is priority and the “loss” that bums me shouldn’t take my joy and my gratitude for all that I do have.

 On this Labor Day weekend, where we get a holiday break from our ‘labor’ I want to give you all a task: Take 15 minutes today, sit down at your favorite spot and make a list for everything you’re grateful for. In fact, if you make that a daily spiritual practice, you may find your list getting larger every day and the cloudy moods turned into smiles and fond memories. I believe when we take that time and write things down, our perspective changes. We look at that list, more than once, and if you’re like me, you say, “Oh, and this has to be added and this…and pretty soon we are counting the blessings each day instead of the disappointments.

Do you need a “mindset shift?” In our whacky world we all do and if we stay “shifted with an attitude of gratitude, and mindfulness of gratefulness, frustrations life and our hope is restored. Join me today in being grateful … thanking God for all that we have because we do live in abundance even if our muffins are gone and we’ve got to settle with wheat toast!