This learning to give thanks changes everything. Changes the way I think. Changes the way I see things. Changes me. It’s not that I’ve never been grateful before. But I think I gave thanks more for the obvious blessings—Jesus, a great husband, children, a specific answer to prayer—and often tuned out so many of the gifts God showered upon me daily.
I am amazed at the difference gratefulness makes. Now that I am trying to deliberately, intentionally look for God’s blessings through the lenses of thankfulness, I see Him everywhere. The whole world looks different, as different as when I got my first pair of glasses.
The summer I was nine, the constellations disappeared. My family pointed fingers at the Big and Little Dippers. Squinting, I’d look up into the vast blackness, surprised that the sky seemed empty except for a bright, blurred circle of moon. Daylight details faded, too. I spent most of that season wandering around in the canvas of an impressionist’s landscape, Monet’s soft palette, edges rounded and forgiving. The wide green brushstrokes of myopia did not concern themselves with singling out leaves, stems, or blades of grass. I hadn’t even realized I’d lost them.
Before school started in September, I got pink-framed cat’s-eye glasses. (I loved them for the tiny rhinestone accents on each side. I loved them because I believed—truly believed—that my chubby freckled face looked pretty behind sparkly pastel plastic.) From then on I would live in the crisp place behind lenses, reading blackboards, recognizing faces across the street. Now I would be focused, sure-footed, four-eyed forever. And so I am.
But what about my spiritual near-sightedness? I desperately need the Great Physician to help me see his gifts more clearly, to help me notice and count the countless blessings in each new, mercy-filled day. How amazing that when I look up and see only a dark night sky, I can choose to put on thankfulness, this bending of light, bringing me stars.
I awake to the luxury
of another twenty four hours;
and isn’t now a good time to remember,
with deliberate and intentional reverence,
to consecrate this daily-ness?
Don’t let the transcendent beauty
of the garnet-glazed mug,
the silver glint of spoon,
the clean white swirl of cream,
these gifts, these gifts,
slip by unnoticed.
Let me savor the dark roast coffee,
the crisp, hot fragrance of toasted bread,
the blackberry’s tiny plumped pillows
soft on my tongue,
as an act of praise to you.
Don’t let the sacred tools and vessels
of my everyday work:
pitcher, bowl, cup,
ladle, pot, sink,
citrus soap and clear water for washing,
be used without thankfulness.
Anoint these hours, these hands, this life
with the grace of doing all my small tasks
with a great and conscious love for you.