I remember the day so well. My right foot had been operated on and I’d been placed afterwards in an airy hospital room. Unfortunately, the painkillers I'd swallowed had only increased the throbbing pain in my foot to excruciating proportions. To distract myself from its discomfort, I sent a text to a friend. Immediately, I received a comforting response. We chatted a bit via more messages. As the familiar ping of another text’s arrival reached my ears, I heard a step in the hallway beyond and looked up. Hooray. There stood my beloved. He’d come to visit me during his lunch hour.
“Hey. Are you OK?”
“Yep” I said, “Look at my foot!”
Shan examined the interesting contraption that held my foot. He smiled in sympathy, kissed me, found a chair and sat down. It was good to see him and a blessed relief to be distracted from my PAIN. After a few minutes, I realised I’d forgotten to check the last text that had come in, so looked around for my phone. It wasn’t there. That’s strange. Shan stood up and checked my bed, the floor and its surrounds. No sign of it. He called me but there was no sound of my phone’s ring.
It was then that I had an inkling of its fate. Perhaps I’d set it down my lunch tray and it had been whisked off to the kitchen? Oh no! Shan rushed off to check and kept calling my number as he walked. Ten minutes later, I heard it—the musical tones of my phone. A stranger walked into my room. And yes, you guessed right. He had my phone. Yay! I breathed a sigh of relief. A lot of "what-ifs" had run through my mind before he arrived.
What if the phone had been thrown away with the rest of the stuff?
What if I never got it back?
What if I lost all my contact numbers?
There are lots of what ifs in life too, if you stop to think about it.
What if there was no God?
What if I couldn’t see?
What if I couldn’t walk?
I possess a myriad blessings in my life which I often take for granted. It’s when I’m in danger of losing them that I discover their true value. A quote by Marcus Aurelius changed my life this year:
"Think of what you have rather than of what you lack.
Of the things you have, select the best and then reflect
how eagerly you would have sought them if you did not have them."
I've made a gratitude-building game of it. I frequently think of something I have, then imagine life without it. It’s made me aware how rich I am. Here’s a tiny smattering of what I’m talking about. My faith, joy, peace. The Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. My husband, my son, my home. God’s Word, my sight, my hearing. My hands, my feet, my strength. My guitar, my computer, my camera. Our garden, our bed, our neighbourhood. Caring friends, wholesome food, thirst quenching water. Love and laughter, music and song, books and writing. Do you get the message? I have everything I need and more.
Sometimes I forget how wealthy I am. I focus on what I don’t have and forget all that I do.
What if everything I have today was taken away next week?
What if the sun didn’t rise tomorrow?
What if I woke up a different person?
Today, let me savour God’s love.
Let me look up with eyes of gratitude.
Let me not take anything or anyone for granted.
Today (and always), let me be thankful.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:16-18