In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
It’s November, which means it’s time for me to make my annual Thanksgiving Gratitude List.
I’m tempted to say this year has been a ring-tailed monster. It began with both me and my little cat being diagnosed with diabetes, followed by a stint in the ICU with massive internal bleeding caused by my blood-thinning medication. My beloved mother was placed in hospice care in May and passed away in September. Then came two more trips to the hospital for me in the fall – first for gallbladder surgery and three weeks later for more testing after I developed complications.
And yet I do have plenty to be grateful for this year:
My husband. He’s been my absolute rock this past year as I went through three hospitalizations and the loss of my mother. I love that man to the moon and back!
My parents. During Mom’s visitation and funeral (and Dad’s a few years ago), I was awestruck to realize how many people loved my parents and to hear story after story about their generosity in the community.
My family. Having sisters really helps when one goes through the grieving process. Even though the occasion was sad, I also got to visit with a number of cousins I haven’t seen in years. And I can’t begin to express enough gratitude for the amazing team of women who cared for Mom during her final months! They became like family as well.
Good friends, our church community and other supportive people. I’m not sure we’re expected to be grateful for affliction – after all, I’m not a masochist. But I’m certainly grateful for the people God puts in our lives to help us through the sad and scary stuff – the friends, family, church people and total strangers who prayed for us this year. The steady stream of get well-cards and sympathy cards and visits helped more than people know!
Our kitties. I’m learning to count each day with Oley and Champaign as a blessing, now that both have been diagnosed with health problems. And I’ve decided whoever invented pill pockets deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.
My health. I’ve absolutely stopped taking my health for granted. I’m committed to practicing better self-care and am grateful for the Stay Fit exercise program at our local hospital, not to mention the existence of fat-free cream cheese, sugar-free peanut butter cups, the buffets full of delectable vegetable dishes at our two local Indian restaurants and other little things that make sticking to a healthy eating plan (slightly) easier.
Our home. The fireplace I sit next to during my morning meditation and the flower beds in my backyard offer a perfect balm during all the days I’ve spent healing.
Financial security. I’m grateful we can afford health insurance, which means I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay all those medical bills. Being able to hire someone to clean our house and mow our grass has certainly made my life easier, especially since my time was taken up with the job of healing from surgery and making frequent six-hour round trips to my parents’ farm.
Being alive. God has granted me another year. While many folks complain about aging (and I must admit I do this myself from time to time), today I choose to be grateful I’ve been able to grow old. Especially after the adventures of the past year.
And last but not least … SPRING IS COMING in 125 days!!!
For all of this, God, I thank you.
And so, I resolve to keep reminding myself each day: Today is the day our Creator has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Here’s hoping everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!