I Give Thanks
In Philippians 1 the apostle Paul writes: I give thanks in remembrance of you.
I give thanks. Praise to God is therapy, and gratitude is always medicine for our souls.
Garrison Keillor was raised in a Protestant fundamentalist sect, the Plymouth brethren. In one of his writings, called a "Poem of Praise," we see how his Christian background permeates his thinking:
"The inability to give praise," he writes "is a deadly sin...and probably is an offshoot of the sin of pride because it is at the heart of a refusal to pay attention to things; to see what there is to see and to see miracles and gifts for what they are. Pitiful to be so absorbed by our own desires...that we cannot recognize those small and frequent miracles by which we live."
There was a family who waited with delight the birth of their fifth child. When she was born, she had no arms and legs. This was a family with great resilience and courage, so instead of spending a lot of energy in feeling sorry for themselves, they gave the little girl everything they could under the circumstances. She lived to be 21, a delightful human being, with a incisive mind, quick wit, and many friendships--although in those 21 years she was never able to dress or feed herself.
One Easter, her older brother brought home his college roommate. After watching this girl's life for three days, he blurted out, "What keeps you from exploding with anger at whatever kind of God would let you be born in the world with this kind of condition?"
The girl looked him straight in the eye and said, "I realize that compared to what most people have, what I have doesn't seem like much. But listen, I wouldn't have missed being born for anything. I've been able to see. I've been able to smell, to taste and feel. I've been exposed to some of the world's great literature. I've heard some of the finest music ever composed. I've had some of the most wonderful friendships that anybody could ever have. I know what I have doesn't seem like much when compared to what other people have, but compared to never getting to be at all, I wouldn't have missed being born for anything."
I give thanks. Like Paul, even in the toughest of situations, this woman discovered a multitude of blessings.
My wife and I have developed a little dinner exercise. Before our blessing, we both say what we are thankful for during the day. Try it yourself. You will be amazed at all the small miracles that came your way.