Gratitude Day 861
Colossians 3:16: Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Why, oh why, do I keep forgetting to celebrate the little things?
The ordinary, regular, run-of-the-mill things that really are the big things?
Until I get side-swiped with a big reminder?
As the calendar flipped into November, I took a deep breath and casually clicked off the things in my head that I wanted to accomplish in the next 30 days. The list is too long, I know. Overly aggressive expectations in too small of timeframe. This journey of DOING and BEING continue to collide in my life. It’s a constant struggle.
But then, I remembered the little 4ish-year-old boy and his family who showed up at our house during trick-or-treating.
Home from work, I had been told to expect a lot of trick-or-treaters. This is our first Halloween in this house. This neighborhood. I was forewarned to be ready.
And I was.
Hubby Rick and I noticed two young families parked right in front of our house. We tried not to look too obvious as we watched them get their kids out of their vehicles, help them into their cute costumes and grab their candy buckets. We kind of expected them to come to our house right away, since they had claimed our curb. Instead, they went to the neighbors.
Later, I saw them traipsing up our steps. A 4ish-year-old boy led the pack. He was prepared. He knew those steps. He might not have waited for me to open the door. I greet him at the door, candy bucket in hand.
Instead of the normal, “Trick-or-treat!” this little boy surprised me with, “We used to live in this house!”
Immediately, I knew who he was. Part of the family we bought the house from. Last Halloween, he’d pulled his costume on inside our house, maybe sorted his candy in our living room and crawled into his bedroom at the hall’s end tired and full of sugar.
Now, we are the ones living in his house.
“Do you want to see your old room?” I asked.
I didn’t have to ask him twice. He stomped up the inside steps before either of his parents had a chance to dissuade him. His Dad kind of raised his eyebrows. I assured him it was OK and invited the entire family to check out their old house.
As the tiny leader of the pack barreled down the hallway, I tried to warn him that his room would look different. Everyone wandered in and out of the rooms on the main floor, with the parents appreciating the new flooring. The Dad asked who I’d hired to redo our kitchen cabinets. He was a little surprised when I said my sister and I had. They seemed OK with the changes? It’s hard to know in mere seconds.
Already convinced he had seen enough upstairs, the little boy asked if he could go downstairs. “We used to have a bowling alley down there.” Again, I shared that things would look different but everyone could check them out. As he came back upstairs, his eyes doubled in size when he saw the homemade cut-out cookies in the shape of a pumpkin on a platter. Loaded with lots of frosting, they would look good to any person with an inner child and a love for something sweet. Each of the kids picked out a cookie before heading out the door.
I invited them to come back to the house anytime. “Come see their old rooms again,” I said.
And they were out the door, almost like the brief tornado that had come through just a few minutes earlier.
What was the highlight of our Halloween night? That little boy who unashamedly told me that Hubby Rick and I are now living in the house that he used to live in. What a precious little moment! One I was so happy to share with this little boy, his family and their friends.
Gratitude. It’s something that I try so desperately to keep within my daily life. Something I pray I give more than I take. But somehow, we’re on day 11 of November and I’m not sure that I have been terribly grateful.
Yes, I did notice and appreciate my blooming Christmas cactus. Maybe it’s more of a holiday cactus because it seems to have a mind of it’s own when it comes to blooming.
Yes, I had a smile on my face as Hubby Rick and I picked up our youngest granddaughter from school this week. Our hearts melted when she saw our faces, broke out into a huge smile. She came running and wrapped her little arms around my legs and then my shoulders after I bent down.
Yes, I appreciated having time to chat with a friend I last saw in April.
Yes, I enjoyed some time with Rick after we had both been gone for a few days; me at a writer’s retreat and him helping with corn harvest.
Yes, I enjoyed the wonderful reheated butternut squash soup that I had made a few days earlier. Squash that came out of Hubby Rick’s well-tended summer garden.
Yes, I love the new free pen that showed up in our mailbox this week. A pen? Yes. Honestly? I like certain pens, or rather size of tip and type of ink. This one checks off both!
Maybe you get my drift by now? No matter how full my calendar is or how many projects need my attention, there is always something that should cause me to pause. Give thanks. Express gratitude. Things that aren’t necessarily the biggest things but something that just brings a bit of joy.
“Thanks” is a small sentence. Just one word. But it captures so much love and feeling and emotion all wrapped up into one word.
We can make it a bit longer by adding, “Thank you, God.”
November is often thought of as the month for giving thanks. I was reminded of this throughout the week. Was I expressing enough gratitude? What is “enough?” What if 10 days have already gone by and you haven’t expressed gratitude every day? You still have 20 days to do so!
How can we make expressing daily gratitude super easy? Find something small and beautiful and say, “Thank you, God.”
And then, do it again, later in the day. Any tiny thing. Just, “Thank you, God.”
And then, again. The next day. And the next.
Sometimes, we make things too difficult. Complicated. We set lofty expectations and think it only counts if it’s more than easy.
But I think that we’d be wrong if this is the only way we view gratitude.
This November, let’s keep gratitude simple. Easy. Doable.
Just one thing a day. Twenty things in the next 20 days. Sound doable?
Let’s do it.
I’d love to hear about the things that you are grateful for. Help me discover what I am overlooking.
For the reminder to find gratitude in the very-day-normal lives, I am grateful.
Loving God – Thank you once again for the simple reminder that gratitude is easy. Simple. Not complicated. May I truly embrace this season of gratitude and remember it comes best in the little stuff. Amen.
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