One must always ramble in this area of being grateful… all day, every day. I speak of the meaning of rambling as in … at length and unplanned.
On my morning walk yesterday I began singing as I passed our mailbox with the words give thanks on the banner. Only I didn’t sing “Give thanks with a grateful heart”. It just came naturally to sing, “Give thanks with a broken heart.” Try it—words and music fit perfectly.
If we allow our tears to deaden gratefulness, I wonder that we can be thankful at all. There are many things I cannot manage together. Tom always laughs and says I cannot row a boat and talk at the same time. But I can cry while laughing, and I can dance in the rain.
Tears fall, yes, but I smile with gratefulness to see the birds at the feeder… to hear Christmas music these days. The glorious sunrise joys the moment. I ramble all day, thanking God for His goodness, praising Him in the pain, while the tears flow for life’s hurts.
I think we are all in this place— this pandemic has caused pain and confusion. From A to Z—my November prayer journal runs red with broken hearts and scattered pieces of life. I lay my hands on the names and weep. When I follow up with some, do you know what I always hear? From Shanghai, Copenhagen, Vienna or Seattle, I can almost hear each one sing, “I… give thanks with a broken heart…”
Many of us can cry these same words from the Psalmist (you feel the anxiousness in the Amplified version). “My life dissolves and weeps itself away for heaviness; raise me up and strengthen me according to the promises of Your word. Chapter 119:28. Would you believe four verses later, this same writer sings, “I run in the path of Your commands for you have set my heart free.” v32. I believe he observed the morning and rambled in thankfulness, despite the weariness of life.
Henri Nouwen’s thoughts on gratefulness expressed in Bread for the Journey: To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives—the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections –- that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.
In my book, available at Amazon.com Whispers on the Journey, I write on Page 18 in the section on gratitude how the gift of an orange at Christmas taught me to be thankful: To this day, I enjoy the fragrance and taste of an orange, and I smile. I didn’t know our family was as poor as we truly were. What I do know is that I was thankful for the small things, the blue sky days, the flowers, enough food for our large family. I am not sure you can teach someone to overflow with gratitude, to whisper thank you for the small gifts of life. Perhaps it was because I had few material things, I simply was grateful for the everyday miracles.
“My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” Psalm 71:8
I will forever be grateful for this day, November 17. Fifty eight years ago today, I began walking with a teen age boy as a senior in high school. There are not many days that I do not whisper a thank you to him and one to the Creator for him. I will continue to follow both until….
To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us—and He has given us everything… Thomas Merton Thoughts in Solitude
And to you, my friends and readers, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy…” Philippians 1:3,4. Your life is a gift to me, and I ramble…
… in gratefulness… for you…