At some point in life, all of us make New Year resolutions to try to be better, happier, healthier, smarter, richer, wiser…. Prettier? LOL. Yet in the last two years, I haven’t made one resolution, not because I had none, but because my life had taken its toll on me and I was made to live day-to-day constantly battling and trying to figure out which foot might fall next. What would be the point then to have any resolutions at all when I had no clue what to expect each time I woke up?
2016 is no different. I still don’t know what else life will decide to throw my way and I still live day-to-day with a slight pang of anxiety every time I get a new email. Yet I have decided to make one resolution this year- to experience gratitude in every way I can.
Gratitude for Nothing
Of course, now you’re going to think I’ve lost it! No, I haven’t. Sometimes, no news is the best news of all!
My first inspiring moment of setting this resolution was realizing that for the past three hours, my phone had not sounded, there was stillness in the air, and I was not demanded or called to be anywhere or do anything. Right, it was boring… Many times we hustle and bustle around day after day, not realizing what we are missing in life. The first time in forever that I say on my couch surrounded by silence and stillness, I have to say, was one of the greatest last moments of 2015 I could never forget.
Yes, of course I miss my children and the sound of their laughter. Of course I checked my phone every 25 seconds to make sure I hadn’t miss an email or call. Of course I got bored and started wondering if I was at all important to anyone!
And in the still of the moment, the great calm in the midst of the holidays, I was thankful. I was thankful for rest, thankful for the peace and quiet, thankful for not getting stressed trying to respond to ridiculous messages. In that moment, my heart was at ease and gratitude set in. And boy did I wish those three hours didn’t end!
Gratitude for Everything
Then there is the holiday madness and rushing for everything. First we made breakfast and as soon as dishes were done, there was lunch, then a huge dinner where it seemed like the whole neighborhood knew we had food. Then the party began and there was more to do, more to say, more to dance, more to sing…
This second part of my resolution is being grateful for exactly the opposite of the first part – everything. For a moment in time, having to chin up and do everything and anything didn’t seem so bad! After all, I had who and what I needed in exactly one place- home.
At some point, I recall vaguely children trying to yank each other’s hair out in the corner of the room. On any normal day, I would have ran over and screamed at the top of my lungs. This time though, it seemed fine. Sure they lost a few strands of hair each, but the pain of having your hair uprooted in a flurry seem to dissipate almost so quickly that no one really remembered what they were fighting for. Not one adult actually had to get angry or pull these kids apart.
In the next few days, I followed this train of thought. How to be grateful for nothing and everything. In my spare moments that I would normally try to occupy just to kill the hurt, I sat and was peaceful. In my frantic peak hour jostle where I would typically look like a raging lunatic trying to reign in two extremely hyper children, I told myself “better them with me than not.”
That was my mantra crossing over to 2016.
What 2016 meant to me
It’s been just ten days since New Year. The parties are over, leftovers are almost gone, and the tree has been taken down. All that occupies the empty space is an extra chair we use when we have guests at the dining room table (yes we have a small place). Yet the resolution for gratitude has not faded.
Every day we pray to thank God for all we have- good food on the table, a roof over our heads, snuggly covers that keep us warm in the middle of the night… The kids have also adopted gratitude as a way of life. They wake being thankful for breath, sight, mobility, and another great day in school. I wake thankful for their presence for I never know how much longer I will wake besides them every day.
The funny thing is that being grateful doesn’t just end there. It opens a new realm of realization that many might not yet have experienced. Gratitude has solidified my belief that God has his plans. Gratitude has opened doors and presented me with new things each day to be grateful for. The touch of love and God’s will did not leave once I was grateful, it only became stronger.
As I live and love, as I always have, day-to-day through the uncertain and insecurities of life, I’ve been presented with a myriad of love, care, and concern from those special around me and those far away. I found a note in my little one’s backpack that he clearly had forgotten to tell me about. The note read, “I love you, Mom.” It melted my heart and made me realize that not all is lost… Our holiday wishes came from those halfway across the globe, messages of love, hope, and confidence in the mom I am and the mom I have become.
Is there a way to determine how your faith can benefit your life or make things any easier? No, there honestly isn’t. Will your faith make your journey any easier?
Maybe, maybe not.
Why have faith then?
Because the power of believing in something you cannot touch or see is far greater than trusting only what is tangible and real. God never fails, he never abandons, and he never throws you into a well if there wasn’t a way out for you.
My journey has just begun. After years of turmoil and struggle, I am firm that my journey is just starting. Is yours? Isn’t that what faith is after all? A journey of believing and trusting that only Him alone knows what’s best for you.
Remember, God never wastes a hurt.