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Much to be Thankful For

It has been the hardest year, and yet, I have much to be thankful for.

We have had our struggles with health and finances. Yet, somehow we’ve survived. I have much to be thankful for.

This year has seen moments of exhaustion I’d only ever imagined. I am perpetually faced with mountains of laundry, endless stacks of dishes, and three little kids with a serious case of jam-hands. Yet, in those three souls I have much to be thankful for. 

Our little home, the rented space that doesn’t amount to much to anyone who doesn’t inhabit it’s four walls, has been foreclosed on. Our days here are numbered. And yet, we will move on, and we will inhabit four other walls and turn those into a home. I have much to be thankful for.

I lost my brother unexpectedly. A pain I know I have not come to terms with nor have I seen anything close to the end of, judging by my reaction to the Requiem Mass for All Souls. But, in this Year of Mercy, I have Faith that he tastes Everlasting Life. I have much to be thankful for. 

In  a Saturday morning formation session for the Catechetical Institute recently I learned about the Examen Prayer. The Examen Prayer is a beautiful piece of Ignatian Spirituality that I intend to implement soon, and perhaps I can do a proper post on it, too. But, the TL;DR version is that the Examen Prayer is a way to prayerfully reflect on the events of your day and see God’s hand at work in all things, big and small. 

I have been unpacking it in my head for a week or so now and the part that really stuck with me was to begin by giving thanks to God and not just vaguely, but for specific things. And, maybe that because I needed to hear it. I needed to not just give thanks to God because I have much to be thankful for.  Because, while that is true, and I do, it’s a trap to know that I should be thankful, and so much harder to live in that truth. To actually be thankful. 

 Maybe that is the fate of mankind after the fall, or maybe it’s the fate of a woman living in a hard year, unable to face the pain. It is an act of courage to be truly thankful, because it means I am thankful for all that God has given me, the good and the suffering. I am not there yet, but I am walking that path. And along the way, maybe it is enough to know I have much to be thankful for. It will hold me over until I get there.

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