The True Meaning of a Life of Gratitude

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Living a life of faith is easy when life is “good”. With joy, I give God thanks for the showers of blessings that I receive daily.  I am blessed to be surrounded by a loving husband, family, friends. Writing and guest speaking engagements are fun and gratifying as people share the inspiration they receive from my work. Sometimes I feel as if God has wrapped me in a cocoon of happiness. As I give thanks, I seldom ask God, “Why me?” Instead I focus on gratitude and paying forward my blessings to others.

For the last two weeks, my cocoon has been shattered. My daughter was seriously hurt in a horseback riding accident. It’s much easier to encounter difficulties for myself than to watch my child suffer. It’s been a long two weeks, filled with worry, seeing her pain.

Today as I write this, I realize that my years of gratitude for the blessings in my life have given me the blessing of an attitude of gratitude. On the day of the accident and on all the subsequent days, my prayers have been full of tears and of thanksgiving –  not for her injuries, or her pain. No! No! No! I am grateful that she has none of the paralysis that usually comes with severe back injuries. From the beginning, she could move her arms and legs. Yes, she is barely walking with a walker, but she is walking. Yes, she will be in a body brace for three months. In the past, a full body cast was standard. Yes, her full recovery may require back surgery, and for sure will take a long time, but she will recover. I am truly grateful.

During this last two weeks, I have felt God’s love surround me in the caring and prayers of friends and family. I am grateful. I have given God thanks for the strength and opportunity to spend nearly all day, every day at the hospital, where my daughter has received wonderful care. When I consider the actual cost of that care that is covered by public medicare, I give thanks for the gift of living in our wonderful country of Canada. And, the natural healing of our bodies is amazing.

Even still this past two weeks, because of my training and profession, I had the opportunity to give a gift of love and joy to another family, whose pain and struggle far exceeded ours. For that, I can only kneel in awe at God’s wisdom. To be able to offer compassion to another in my own worry was a true gift of comfort and strength for me.

Yes, my daughter’s recovery will take time. Yes, I wish her accident had never happened, or that it had happened to me. But living is doing what we love, whether it’s writing, speaking, working, enjoying sports. And for me, living is an awareness of God’s love and strength with me in good times and in difficult times. Living is gratitude even in the midst of pain. We are not alone. I am not alone. My daughter is not alone. Thanks be to God.

By Rev. Janet Stobie

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