It had been a while, but the other day I picked up my copy of One Thousand Gifts and had a little trouble with it.
I'm about half way through - after the concept of thankfulness as the pathway to true joy and the quest to live in the fullness of His abundance had been well established. In an entirely uncomfortable moment of honesty, Ann Voskamp details her mental chatter while watching her boys fight over breakfast chores one morning.
I almost didn't want to read this part...I prefer to think of those truth giving authors as saints who have it all figured out. And this struck just a smidge too close to home. I've had those thoughts when my dogs knock into me (and my cup of coffee) as I come into the house with my hands full. Or when that last bag of groceries breaks on the way into the house. Or when someone sits at a green light (Green means go people! Even my three year olds know this!)
But her conclusion for fighting those moments of stress was simple and surprising.
She proposes that thankfulness draws us into the Presence of God by turning our faces towards Him. He's always about us, but we seldom notice. So she thanked God for her sons. For their vivaciousness. For the curls falling into their eyes. And those words brought her into her sanctuary - out of herself - and into the Presence of the God who loves her, has a plan for her, and could soften her heart, and her words, in that moment, because He was right there with her.
Kind of an odd thought, huh? When frustrated, throwing something, rather than thanking Someone, seems the more cathartic choice.
But I'll try anything once.
So tonight, as I finished the last hour at work, warm, tired, and trying to find something to finish out those last 45 minutes with in the too-quiet office, I started thanking. Thankful today, for an air conditioned office. Thankful for a job I like most of the time. Thankful for a cool house to go home to. And the mental conversation kind of took off on its own. It grew out of me, and all of a sudden, I didn't mind being at work so much.
It seems silly, but by acknowledging where my blessings come from, Who they come from, I realligned my life against the horizon of grace. These moments and tasks seem doable in light of eternity, in light of all God has given me, of all He provides me. It's not so much an easy fix to an uncomfortable problem as much as a way of seeing the problem redefined as a gift.
It's gonna take some practice, especially in those mean red moments, to remember to practice thankfulness. But I think I want to try. I think it might make a difference.