I know, I’m a week late exactly to be talking about anything that has anything to do with thankfulness… sorry, charlie (i know you’re reading this.)
but I do have a thought on what true thankfulness and gratefulness might be, besides your little everydays.
There is a quote that I found that stuck with me last year as some really dark times seemed to bog down my soul. “I will be grateful for this day” it read, in tiny print the first time I saw it, and then, like a flash, it was everywhere in different verbal formats. I will be grateful for this day. I remember the first time I thanked God for the darkness. I was on my stairs in my apartment on my way down to teach a ballet class, when I looked out the window, through the blue star flag and to the street, where I saw another black car pass by. I let my breath exhale hardly realizing that I’d been holding it in the moments before the car sped up to pass my driveway, and thus expose that it was carrying no bad news to me. As I let go of the breath (just one among thousands that each had promised to be the last of the life where he was unharmed) I sunk onto the step a little bit to tired to move to my car and to the waiting dancers half an hour away. I closed my eyes and I rasped out a prayer from the billowing branches at the depths of my heart. I thanked God that the car had nothing to tell me, no news from the west, or from anywhere else. Then i sunk into myself and prayed the words I didn’t understand but needed to believe in. I thanked God for the hell he was letting me go through, and I thanked him for the pain I could hear in my husband’s voice in the phone calls I’d been receiving. I thanked him for the lostness I felt, and for light’s seeming absence from my life. I thanked him that he was there, even though feeling his presence was a struggle. and I thanked him for whatever was to happen to the Lance Corporal… and to me… and to us.
And really the prayer didn’t last very long, and on my way to ballet I pondered why I’d pray it. Honestly, I didn’t figure out the reason I would thank my Father of grace, and goodness, and mercy… happiness and joy for the blatant horror my husband – and with him – I, was going through. But I continued the prayer every day, quietly, in my heart of hearts. And I didn’t tell very many people then, because they might think I was crazy, or try to comfort me and tell me to not give thanks for something that God would never do.
but I’m glad I prayed it.
every single day my heart became more open to the prayer and through it. Acceptance of what I could not change came slowly and Joy in Christ became a deep well that sufficed me with living water on days that I could not find life on my layer of ground. Thankfulness was not always felt, but I believe often, in words, it can be shown until the understanding could come.
I don’t know what got other girls through, or how the marines managed to stay afloat, I don’t know if I could have, had I been in my husband’s shoes. But the habit of gratefulness has become an easy prayer to fall into
and I’ve found that in praying thankfulness over the most difficult time of my life, these days, it is easy to remember and feel grateful for the small joys and trials that come with just being a married girl, a girl in school, a girl whose dinner sometimes burns without explanation.
just, grateful and able to be so… and isn’t that just a gift and something extra to be thankful for?