A song for my Lord? A paean of praise? Let me count the ways, to echo the poet.*
Somewhere I have a list of events which are markers of His presence in my life. The challenge has been to write of them, recording for posterity, or at least my own understanding, His care and love. We all long for assurances that our lives are worthy of notice, or at least have not been forgotten by the God of all. Significance, that is what we hope for. Yet in forgetting the many ways The Lord has blessed, I have overlooked the very thing I searched for.
“When up to your clavicles fighting alligators, you forget that your original purpose was to drain the swamp.”
Quickly we forget His benefits and blessings, often saying “But what have you done for me lately?” My friends were directed to put a stone in a “blessing bowl” on the table each time they received a blessing that was an obvious gift from the Lord. We are not talking about yes, I woke up this morning, or the sun is shining outside kind of blessings. After several months the bowl was overflowing with stones. When asked what do these stones mean, they could remember only a few. All the others had faded away out of the memory.
So it is with us. We receive, and then forget, easily falling into the mindset of God doesn’t love me like He does everyone else. Totally missing the flow coming our way, we also miss the opportunity for gratitude, and gratitude always leads to more blessings.
Gratitude is foundational to healthy living. It is essential to a strong spiritual relationship with the Lord. Rooted in an awareness of our incompleteness, it declares our need for others, our inter-relatedness. It rejects, by its very nature, the idea of self-sufficiency, of being our own god. Gratitude and narcissism are therefore polar opposites. Coming to a realization that we cannot “do” life on our own is taking a big step toward maturity. For which we can be thankful.
“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.” Ps. 63:6
* Elizabeth Barrett Browning