Falling into the “poor-me’s” of the difficulties of our lives and into dwelling on the negatives of what is happening in the world around us is a natural reaction for a majority of people. It may even be said that it’s our default.
But we have the daily ability to choose to reset our minds from that default to an attitude of gratitude.
I’m neither advocating hiding our heads in the sand, nor pie-in-the-sky positive thinking, but rather trusting that God has our best interests in mind. We can drown in our own negativity and, therefore, be no good for effecting change around us. But recognition of God’s goodness, and faith in Him, can rescue us from helplessness and give us the courage to carry on and be a part of the solution instead of a part of the problem.
Last week, my sister, who is taking care of my mom in another city, had to have emergency surgery and was in the hospital for a few days. She texted me to see if I could come help out. I had to switch gears from enjoying the last few days with my son before he goes back to university to packing and planning for a 5 to 6 hour drive up north. That switch had to be made purposefully, and doing so willingly with a good attitude made it so much more pleasant for everyone affected by the change, including myself.
Instead of boohooing my loss of those last few days with my son, God helped me to look forward to seeing other family again that I haven’t seen in over a year. The present situation threw virus concerns aside and pushed us to make a decision that otherwise would not have been made for some still- unknown amount of time.
My daughter and I drove up together. About an hour or so into the trip, the trees were looking beautiful all covered in ice and snow, but the roads were clear.
Further on, in addition to that, we entered a shroud of fog. The good part about that was that there were not many vehicles on the road. Also, even though there was some eye strain, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and we did not have to slow down very much.
It’s been a good time seeing and working together with my sister and her family. Her daughter unloads the dishwasher and helps me find things. Her son loads the dishwasher, does laundry, and even helps cook. Her husband has a job he enjoys and has remained healthy in spite of immune issues. My sister is getting a little bit better each day.
Helping take care of my elderly mother is alternately fun and challenging. I’m not sure that her dementia is Alzheimer’s, but we believe that is what it is. While so much of her memory is gone, she has occasional lucid moments where she surprises us with things she says. She also has kept her musical memory and even remembers most of the words to a lot of songs. And, she has kept her sense of humor. So, when the going gets tough, I either start singing one of her songs or do or say something that I know will make her laugh. We’ve already had some good laughs together! And the other night I missed a Kodak moment when she was doing a little dance to “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”.
These have been some sweet times that I will remember, even if she will not.
Last night a man in the city started shooting a gun at the same pharmacy that my sister’s son and husband had been in two hours before. We can choose to think fearfully about what might have been or be grateful that the Lord took care of them.
Today I’m counting my blessings. They are actually too many to count unless I get out several sheets of paper and start making a very long list. Even then, I would be sure to miss some.
But here are a few blessings for which I’m thankful today:
- I got to see my son from Thanksgiving till after the New Year.
- My husband is able to take him to the airport.
- God has chosen to bless me with children.
- My son gets to attend college.
- I have a house to leave and a car to drive.
- God gave my daughter and me safe travels, even in the fog.
- We got to see beautiful winter scenery.
- My mom responded well to me even though she doesn’t exactly know who I am.
- My sister’s surgery went well, and she was released from the hospital and is slowly recovering.
- My daughter and I get to spend time with my sister and her family.
- My brother-in-law and the rest of the family have remained COVID- free.
- Mom and I have enjoyed laughing and singing together.
- Our children are growing up and becoming more responsible.
- God will save us if we put our confidence in Him as He has revealed to us in His Word.
- God gives His children courage to be a part of the solution.
- God protected my family members and many others from being in the line of fire.
- We have food to eat and warm clothes to wear.
- The furnace is working.
- We have lights to turn on when it gets dark (both literally and figuratively).
“Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. 16Even so, let your light shine before people; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:15,16 NHEB
What about you? How has it been going for you with resetting the default reactions to difficult situations? What blessings are you thankful for today? What is your takeaway from this lesson?
Fog photos taken by my daughter with my phone camera. Other photo by me.