While my purpose for writing about Gratitude is to increase my awareness of daily blessings, I must take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the clarity of hindsight. I am always so comforted by seeing the beauty of lessons learned, even if the process of learning was not pleasant.
The photo I chose for this post is from last year’s Christmas when I was employed, had an oven, had money for food for us and to make fudge as gifts, had firewood for warmth, my daughter was with me and my pets were doing well. This year I am unemployed, struggling with but also grateful for food stamps, have lost two of my pets, am being evicted from my home with no guidance for direction yet and no place to go, no money to get there, and have no firewood.
Last year I was grateful for wood but was discontent with the house staying below 50 degrees even when I kept the fire going all day. I was wishing I could buy gifts for my family, even though I remember being grateful I could purchase the ingredients for festive fudge and managed to make cards to share with everyone. I was stressed out at the tiny living quarters we have right now and the lack of space to function efficiently.
This year, I look back and realize how much of a luxury an oven can be, having gone almost a year without one now. But God has blessed us tremendously and we were able to purchase (Thanksgiving week) a countertop convection oven that we have used daily. I struggle with not letting my fears of the electric bill going up higher than we can afford (since technically it already is) get the better of me. But isn’t that a great example of what Satan wants me to think? Instead of being so focused on the joy of being able to bake in the winter and festive times of the year, he wants me to worry that the electricity (which in reality is super expensive in this all-electric poorly insulated home) will climb above my ability to pay for it. No matter what, he does not want me happy or content. So we argue. Most of the time I win by thanking God for His blessings instead of listening to Satan. But in my weaker moments, my heart skips a beat when I wonder how much higher the next bill will be.
But back to my hindsight, last year I had no idea how much more challenging this December would be and so I saw the things I wished would be better. This year, I’m faced with some very real challenges, but even so, I am still so blessed. I counseled the homeless and know from their details of their experiences how important my walls are -no matter how thin or how much insulation is lacking. They still block a huge amount of wind and cold. Not to mention provide safety. I don’t have to worry that my belongings will disappear if I fall asleep, or wonder what crimes will be taking place all around me as I sleep. I am so protected in my room, in my home, on my gated property. And my bed is so much softer than concrete. So I am reminded again that it’s all about perspective. What I am focused on. What I desire. What I am exposed to. What I pay attention to. What I value. Who I am. Who I want to be. How I can help others. It really makes me sound so petty to complain about what I do not have, but mostly it makes me feel so blessed and grateful that God never ceases to provide for me. And somehow, hindsight helps to remind me of this.