As I write this I am laying in bed, itching like crazy from head to toe. Why, I don’t know. I woke up at noon and it’s almost 1:00 now, but I’m not ready to crawl out of my cozy, cool, and dark room just yet. To be quite honest, gratitude is not welling up in my heart in this moment. What is welling up instead is frustration and annoyance, I just want the itching to stop, I want this sickness to be gone, I want to be ‘normal’. If I’m not careful, I can become like a hamster on a wheel of frustration in about 60 seconds.
Everyone has felt like this from time to time, it’s the moments when life gets in the way of stopping to smell the roses. It’s the moments of pain and loss and anger. It’s the sense that this isn’t the way things were supposed to turn out, life just shouldn’t be this way. It shouldn’t be so hard, so complex, so overwhelming. It’s in the questioning and the doubts and the still quiet moments of discontent.
But then, I come out of my dark room and into the light where the sun is shining brightly, and I am suddenly more aware of the world and it’s beauty. I feel a little bit smaller and my problems a little less significant. I open the bathroom window to let the fresh air in as I prepare a cold bath to help soothe my itching, burning skin. The sounds are wonderful, full of life and I am happy. I am thankful, and a different feeling wells up to take the place of my frustrations, the feeling is gratitude and my thoughts shift.
I am grateful for so many things. I am forever thankful for the love and support of my family, boyfriend, and closest friends who have come to my aid during this trying time in my life. I am thankful for all of the things that we typically take for granted in the western world- food in my belly, electricity, a soft bed, and a roof over my head. I am thankful that I can see the world’s splendor and hear it’s sweet sounds. I am thankful for my salvation and for a God who cares for me despite my shortcomings. The list goes on and I feel my spirit lifted.
Life isn’t always easy, in fact, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be difficult. But I have learned, largely thanks to Lyme Disease, that how you view the difficulties makes all the difference. As Charles Swindoll says, “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”.
My hope for myself and for you is that we will begin each day with a grateful heart. That we will focus more on our blessings than on our problems. That we will practice gratitude in all of our dealings and that we will be more aware of grace when we fall short. Here is to today, it will never happen again, so let’s be thankful and unafraid.