My comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek but, actually, it is also probably pretty accurate. It is so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of life and forget to be grateful for its magnificent blessings. Small, annoying things blind me to sizable, awesome ones.
Take, for example, a pebble that shows up in my Chaco. Small, annoying. And capable of drawing my focus down. And, when I look down, focusing on the small, annoying pebble, I miss the sizable, awesome mountain that I would see if I looked up. To take the analogy one step further, if I take that same pebble and hold it close to my eye, I cannot see anything else and it truly does blind me to the mountain’s majesty.
And so it is with many little things in my truly blessed life. The seal in the back window of my truck is compromised; every time it rains a waterfall cascades down the inside window of the cab. Annoying. The scale says I have gained 5.2 lbs. Super annoying. A student in my class threw seeds across the room. I saw him and expressed disapproval. He agreed to stop and, less than 10 second later, was throwing things again. Really?!?!? My running tights have a hole in them, we are out of milk, and the chest freezer needs defrosting. The front flower bed is a disaster, I need to call the health insurance company for the sixth time about the same issue, and the Cream of Wheat that someone left in the cereal bowl has turned to cement.
Oh my lands Teresa! What a manifestation of blessings your “pebbles” are!!
- I have a truck!!! Leaky window and all, the truck is a huge blessing in my life.
- Weight gain is a sign that I have plenty to eat. Plenty!! What a blessing!
- I have a job, a great job working with fabulous people. And I have some really great students too. Another significant blessing.
- Running tights represent a double blessing: 1) I have enough clothes that I can have clothing specifically dedicated to exercise and 2) my health is such that I can exercise. I don’t run much anymore but my bike is one of my best friends.
- Being out of milk implies that we had milk at one time and that we can afford to get more. Actually we have milk a lot...and cheese and cream and butter and ice cream and...…. More blessings!
- Likewise with the freezer, the flowerbed, and the insurance…. Hassles with these things exist because we have them. What a blessing it is to have a freeze, a flowerbed and insurance.
- The crusty Cream of Wheat bowl represents my greatest blessing of all: my family. Dirty dishes, strewn socks, and muddy tracks on the unswept floor would not happen (at least not as much) if I lived alone. I am so grateful, SO GRATEFUL, for their presence in my life.
Talyn Debus-Villasenor, a wise friend who frequently enriches my life with tidbits of wisdom, said “That is why they say PRACTICE gratitude.” Gratitude takes practice and effort. One does not randomly happen to practice making a field goal or baking a loaf of bread. Practice requires thought and work.
Focused practice also yields results…...points scored in a football game or at a dinner table ...or appreciation for one’s blessings. And appreciation for one’s blessings opens the world to joy, light, and some really amazing views.
May you practice gratitude this week. And may your practice bring you to God, who is truly the the font from which all blessings flow.