A thought popped into my head a year ago today: Offer a 365-day gratitude challenge on my Facebook page. It seemed like a great idea at the time, so I set to work posting (nearly) daily comments concerning things for which I’m thankful.
This exercise has been good for me, and I hope those who have participated by posting their own comments have found it beneficial, too. (BTW, we’re not finished yet! Feel free to join the fun on my FB page). I’ve realized afresh that I don’t have to look far to find countless blessings that fill my life on a daily basis.
Take fresh, clean drinking water for example. I just spent two weeks in the Middle East where I could drink only bottled water because the tap water wasn’t safe for consumption. That meant using bottled water for brushing my teeth, too. It also meant not ordering coffee or tea in restaurants lest the cooks used tap water and failed to boil it adequately before serving it.
I tried my utmost to be careful, but my efforts failed. I suspect I drank tea served in a freshly washed mug. Trouble was, that mug had not been dried before being filled again, and drops of tap water lingered inside and along the edge where I placed my mouth. The result leveled me for a day. I can’t remember the last time I felt so sick. “Thank You, Lord, for the gift of safe drinking water easily accessible at home.”
My washer and dryer are another example. Every time I travel overseas, I wash my clothes in a bathroom sink or on the shower floor. This trip was no exception. Drying my husband’s shirts meant hanging them on a makeshift clothesline that he rigged up on our apartment’s balcony. We dried our underwear and socks by hanging them across the back and the arms of a plastic chair and then placing the chair in front of a fan that kept our room cool at night. “Thank You, Lord, for the gift of a washer and dryer.”
And then there’s the gift of my own bed. Traveling to many foreign countries means sleeping on many different mattresses. Most feel like plywood. Others feel like pokey springs. The mattress supplied for us on this trip was one of the better ones, but nothing provides for a restful night’s sleep like my own bed. “Thank You, Lord, for the gift of a good mattress.”
Finally, returning home means once again hearing news of our country’s upcoming federal election. This morning I heard a woman on the radio complaining about having to wait in long lines to cast her pre-election ballot on the weekend. Seriously? I thought. Why not be grateful to live in a country where democratic elections are held and no one needs risk their life to vote?
While overseas, I drove through Cairo, Egypt’s Tahrir Square—the focal site for the revolution that eventually forced the country’s president to resign in 2011. Nearly 1,000 people died in their efforts to bring democracy to their country.
We might not always feel as though our politicians are men and women of integrity, and we might not always agree with their decisions, but we’re allowed the opportunity to vote without fear of violence breaking out in the streets. “Thank You, Lord, for the gift of living in a democratic society.”
Today I wish my Canadian friends a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I wish all my readers the ability to recognize the blessings they experience on a daily basis and the desire to express gratitude to the One from whom all blessings flow.
For what are you grateful today?