Updated: May 21
What's your gratitude attitude? It's that time of year when we are called to think about being thankful or grateful. But that got me wondering why just this time of year? Don't we need to have that mindset every single day of our lives?
If you live a life of faith, you are called to give thanks and be grateful in all times and circumstances. But what exactly does that mean? How do we live this out day to day?
As you may know from previous posts, I have had 14 months of what I call a Dark Night of the Soul season in my life. It began with my family unit dissipating and 23 days later getting the news I had cancer. From that time, it has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs since as soon as one thing resolves, another pops up to challenge.
Today, I'm feeling a little like Job (Old Testament man of faith in case you aren't aware), not in righteousness for sure, but in the challenge to be faithful and grateful for all that is thrown my way. I would be a liar if I told you that the circumstances of the last week and a half haven't thrown me for a loop and left me feeling a little down. I have definitely done the Bonnie thing and looked upward and asked, "really God?" But in all of this, I am holding tight to my Brother Keenan's words to me before the latest onslaught of issues. He said, "I love your resilience. Remember the more resilient you are the more the Enemy is going to throw at you" (my paraphrase).
What has he thrown at me recently? Two weeks ago, my son Dylan went to the doctor for issues he's been having swallowing and tests reveal he has a thyroid issue. My mom heart has sunk but my mom fighter has kicked in. Because of my cancer and our family history, he will be undergoing more testing to see if he is following in my footsteps. Then, I went in for a routine bloodwork test Friday before last. At this time, I was starting to feel like I had a sinus infection and by that Sunday, after experiencing breathing difficulties, I found I had not only a trip to urgent care but sinus and bronchitis infections. The doctor gave me antibiotics so that the pastoral retreat I was about to leave for would be bearable that next week. The retreat was relaxing and I was grateful to be able to leave my car at school and ride with some wonderful pastors and for all the invigorating discussion to and from the retreat. When I got back to the college at the end of the retreat, I started my car and got a hybrid system malfunction warning. I made the decision to try and drive home and finally making it to the dealer, came to discover a rat got into the car while it was parked at the school and it had eaten through the hybrid system control wires and the automatic transmission wiring. I now have a $10,000 nut to crack if I want my car back. The next day, I went to the doctor's office and he told me that my counts were off once again. The low white blood cells he attributed to the bronchial infection but the other numbers indicate that my cancer may not be gone after all.
Big deep breaths.
The last thing the Enemy wants in our lives is an attitude of gratitude. It would be easy for me to just bury my head in the sand and give up. It would be easy for me to be angry and blame God for my circumstances. God may have created the rat but He didn't direct it to go into my car and chew up the operating system! The same with everything else in my life!
So what to do? It is to look at these circumstances and have an attitude of gratitude. I have created my list of those things that I have found to be grateful for in all of this latest barrage of incidents as a hopeful example of who we are all called to be:
I am grateful that Dylan's doctor isn't just pushing this aside and saying let's wait and see. He's on medication and scheduled for more testing. If it turns out he is like me, he will have caught it in an early stage and I have the experience and fortitude to walk alongside him as he would go through treatments.
I am grateful that despite having 2/3 less income since the family unit dissolved last year that we have been able to scrape together the needed income to make ends meet.
I am grateful for my doctor who doesn't let one thing slip by and is cautious and persistent in all of his analysis of any tests or scans done. That he is proactive in my care. I am grateful that even though my cancer may be back, he will be doing everything in his power to be on top of getting it out of my body.
I am grateful that though my cancer debt has reached over $200k now that I have been given grace to pay what I can when I can by my medical team.
I am grateful for medicines that give me the ability to help my compromised immune system stay as strong as possible in ordinary things like sinus and bronchitis infections.
I am grateful that God was with me and saw to it I was safe as I drove home from the college when in fact, I learned, my car could have stalled at any moment and just died on the middle of the freeway.
I am grateful for the dealership service adviser that has walked with me through this and helped me to find the problem and offer solutions to fixing my car.
I am grateful for the rental car company that stayed open and waited for me to get there from the dealership so that I wasn't facing an inability to get to my different work commitments.
Finally, and not that this list is exhaustive, I am grateful for all of the people in my life, family, friends, strangers, etc. who continue to walk alongside me as I face trials and tribulations. Your words, your help, your understanding, and most importantly your prayers are the things that enable me to be resilient and to so strongly have my attitude of gratitude! I am grateful for all of you!
So let me ask you again. What is your attitude of gratitude? Is it there at all times and in all circumstances? If not, how can you change that? If so, how can you be a light to others who are struggling in their own lives? Use today's poem to reflect and journal on what this all means in your life!
"When you change your lens,
Your gratitude attitude,
Changes life daily."