For the past two months in spiritual direction (maybe longer) we have been focusing on grace and gratitude. A lot has been going well in my life. I am happy, healthy, and so is my family. I have a job I love, a new house, fantastic friends and feel like I am moving into a new phase in my life (some say midlife, I still think I’m way too young for midlife).
This is not without stress mind you- work life, home life, financial life have all caused a lot of stress but it has been good, manageable stress.
So I have been overwhelmed with blessing lately. My cup overflows.
So why then do I focus on the big mess that’s all over the floor?
When I was doing my chaplaincy in the hospital I discovered a lot about myself, one of those things was that I was really good in a crisis, I was not as good with joy. I didn’t really know what to do when things went right. We examined this, a lot, but the reality was not a lot had gone “right” in my life and even in joy I waited for the other shoe to drop.
I could never simply enjoy the moment, that moment where everything is good, everything was right in the world, at least for these people in this room.
There are many people of faith who struggle with lamenting to God, thinking the only prayer should be one of thanksgiving. As we know there are many, many prayers of lament and cursing God in scripture for all the wrong that has gone on in people’s lives. I know these prayers and curses well.
However, it is not as easy for some of us to know what to do when we want to pay homage to God for all the goodness in our lives. It was easy when my children were born to give thanks to God – all I had to do was care for them and look at their sleeping perfectness and my whole heart leapt in gratitude. I was so exhausted, so overwhelmed by love there was no thinking, only action and feelings of blessedness.
So here I am again, overwhelmed in gratitude and I am struggling to not clean up the mess on the floor. I want to just let it be and not tell God “when” as God keeps pouring the blessings. I want to let go and simply enjoy these moments, now, for however long they may last.
The question becomes, how? The answer God gives me is by living, sharing, and growing in the abundance of life, fighting the demons of the past to not find their way into the present.
So thank you God. Those are the only words I have, the rest I will have to find a way to show.