Thankfulness should come easy. I preach thankfulness to our kids, correct my husband if he forgets to say thank you, and have taught the dogs to bark and smile when I give them their morning treat. Not really, but I wish.
I can spell “thank you,” define the word perfectly, say it in 3 different languages, and know that spelled backwards it means—absolutely nothing. I was trying to be impressive.
In my effort to be consistently thankful every day and not just near the Thanksgiving holiday I struggle. Thankfulness at Thanksgiving is expected, everyone is doing it. Thanksgiving in July takes effort and thought. Thankful for making 4,019 lunches? Thankful for scooping dog poop? Thankful for outgrown, nearly new, shoes? Thankful for the last banana I was saving for breakfast being eaten? Not so easy.
At church we were challenged to wake up and be thankful for five things. To turn up the heat on the thankful meter, each day we had to think of 5 new items, harsh. Although I haven’t been consistent with doing this, I have made a grand effort because I know the benefit which comes from giving thanks.
When our youngest boy was six, for a stint of a few days, between the hours of 3:00 and 5:00am, he would drag his blanket and pillow into our room and crawl into my side of the bed. My side. He preferred spooning, all night. Spooning for hours hurts. My shoulder and legs would cramp and my back muscles would tie up in knots. Not to mention, my sleep would be severely interrupted.
On one particular evening as I was drifting in and out of sleep in order to find a comfortable position… I. Thanked. God. For the fact that my boy had the ability to walk to my room, crawl up into bed with me, and fall asleep. For his deep breathing and his full functioning brain. I felt better afterwards and not so angry, even amidst the arm and leg contortions.
The next morning I was tired and when I asked him why he came into my bed he said,
“I like to be next to you because I miss you so much.” Although his sappy excuse was his way of avoiding more questions—I added it to my thankful list.
Although he doesn’t crawl in bed with me anymore, as I tuck him in at night he whispers, “I love you with all of my heart.” Although he doesn’t crawl in bed with me anymore, he talks, a lot, and I listen. And although he doesn’t crawl in bed with me anymore, he beckons each night for a glass of water when he should be asleep, and for that, I am thankful.
Although I preach thankfulness, I am learning more of what it means to speak it. And for all things annoying, wasted, shared without permission, broken, stained, cluttered, out of place, outgrown, spilled, fetched, and otherwise, I am thankful—with all of my heart.