Monday, October 27, 2008

Everyday Gifts

I folded laundry today. This is a task that I usually enjoy; the fresh scent of towels and sheets just off the line, the orderly piles of linens and socks when I am done, signaling that another week’s worth has been dealt with. Today as I folded towels, I thought of how much I appreciated having clean ones. It struck me that there are thousands, perhaps millions, who do not have clean towels, or even dirty ones. It is such a small thing, really. Like countless other things in our daily lives that we reach for and use, and take for granted. In this society, we are rich indeed in material possessions, and in conveniences of travel, and every aspect of daily living.

I work with a girl who emigrated from Romania. She came to Canada as an adult. I love to hear her recount, in her lovely accent, her amazement, when she first arrived, over the bounty of benefits that this country provides. She wept the first time she saw a supermarket, overwhelmed at the abundance and variety of foods available there. So impressed was she that she took pictures to send to her family back home. Today she will most days walk down to the nearby grocery store on her lunch hour, carrying back her bags of treasures, still marveling at the many types of foods that she can purchase. Hearing her express her gratitude and joy at being fortunate enough to live in this country causes my conscience to stab me with sharp little reminders of how much I take for granted in my life.

If I were to send a “Thank You” card to God, I would never be finished writing it, as I have so many things to be thankful for. I am trying to cultivate a thankful heart, instead of my usual complaining one. Lately I am thanking Him for the beautiful Fall weather we are currently enjoying. Every day, I can thank Him for family, and health, and material things that I am blessed with. Mostly, though, I thank Him that He cares for me, and knows what is best for me every day. I thank Him that He provides me with all that I need, in this life and the next, out of the bounty of His mercy and grace.

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17 NASB)

What can you thank Him for today?

(PS, I wrote this some time ago, but posting it now as Amy's recent post reminded me of it)


Leonard said...

This morning, on my way upstairs, the house was empty, so I was free to muter to myself aloud, I was kinda grumpy, just woke up, and I said as I climbed the stairs,"I just want my coffee". Immediately after that came outa my mouth, Want my coffee, echoed in my ear, then, "MY", became apparent and it didn't seem to fit. I think someone was trying to tell me something about gratitude.

After I got "my" coffee, I went out to the warehouse and read this post in hard copy.

Thanks for sharing.

ps. coffee.

Amy said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this story about the Romania girl. Indeed, awhile back, I went through a rough situation in which I had to scale back that which I purchased (although it was nothing compared to the poor of this country and especially of other countries). However, nonetheless, today I try to remain in a poise of continuous ongoing gratitude for not only all the "things" I possess, but also for all the miracles (yes, they are miracles) Papa has done in my life.

Maureen, this is a wonderful post. When one is living in a state of gratitude, it is also a state of Loving Worship and praise to Father Son Holy Spirit.

P.S. I'm glad my post sort of "triggered" this one. As well, I hope you continue to enjoy the lovely fall weather you are receiving. Aren't the changing colors fantastic!?

~Amy :)

Ike said...

My wife's normal days are pain and sickness mixed in with visits to the cancer clinic. Today she is having a good day!! I showed her Margaret's picture and she smiled! Her smile is my smile. She longs to be a grandma! I do not have the words to express how thankful I am to the Lord for this day!!! If it were possible.....I'd trade places with her in a second.

RJW said...

You are leaning on Jesus' breast to hear His heart for others this way!!
Lately, God has really been dealing with my middle-class blase'. In fact, recently God brought to our attention TWO, not one, people that we know who are without HEAT!! Who go to bed COLD!!! NO ONE should be cold and hungry!
We are shipping electric blankets tomorrow. Would that we could love everyone but we are determined to love those that we can. And that is not us that is the Love of Christ in us.

Maureen said...

Hi Leonard. I can relate. It's so easy to take things for granted, and have an attitude of thinking we "deserve" things that are only ours because of God's providence and grace.

Still, I hope you enjoyed your morning cuppa!

Amy I'm with you. We have SO much to thank God for. An attitude of gratitude is something to aim for, and one that, with God's grace, can help free us up from the frenzied, mindless consumerism that has taken over our society.

Ike I am so happy that Margaret's picture brought a smile to your dear wife. I know the path you are on must be so difficult, but I see God's grace in your continual trust in Him. He is holding you both so near.

Jamie you give good advice: to love those that we can. God can use us to show His love in the world. What an amazing thought that is.