Today’s about as far from Thanksgiving as you can be in a year, but I want to talk about being thankful anyway. Being thankful was on my mind a lot last week.
On Thursday, I went to the county jail again to play the piano for the women inmate’s worship service. During the testimony time, one of the women talked about how blessed she felt and how thankful she was. She was back in jail because she had been caught drinking while she was out on probation. She had made a dumb mistake, and she was sorry. But what bothered her most was that her daughter who was in college was extremely angry at her for messing up. Her daughter wasn’t about to forgive her for making this mistake. The mother had been praying for her daughter and had been praying that they could be reconciled. The inmate was delighted to report that God had answered her prayer. Her daughter had sent her a wonderful, loving Mother’s Day card. She was ready to forgive her mother. The mother couldn’t be more thankful. God had heard and answered her prayer. Her daughter had forgiven her. And her daughter wanted her to know that she loved her. She was overflowing with thankfulness.
Also on Thursday, my partner Mim told me about a new book she had just started reading, Living Life as a Thank You: The Transformative Power of Daily Gratitude (copyright © 2009 by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons, Viva Editions). The book is all about having an attitude of being thankful every day in all things.
On Friday morning, I looked out on our deck and saw my favorite kind of bird, a goldfinch, about 18 inches from the patio door. I took this picture through the window. What a great way to start the day! Last week had been a hard week for me because of Mim staying at Whispering Winds for a little getaway, leaving me in charge of our resident (with major assistance from our caregivers Kathy and Nancy). Nonetheless, it was considerable responsibility and stress added on top of my normal routines. Seeing my favorite bird on the deck was a bright spot, a special treat to be thankful for. I was also thankful that there were no crises to deal with when I was in charge.
On Saturday, I spent time working outside at Whispering Winds. I picked the asparagus (yes, it’s still coming), and I started the huge, unending task of weeding some of the flower beds around the house. But the best part was enjoying a beautiful day. It was hot, but there was a gentle breeze. The roses are bursting open, especially in the old-fashioned shrub rose bed. I took a few pictures with my cell phone to show you what it looks like at Whispering Winds these days. Too bad I couldn’t capture the smell with the camera – these are the fragrant roses. Not hard to remember to be thankful on Saturday!
When I told Mim I was writing this blog, she said there’s a really good poem in the book that I might want to share with you. Here it is.
by BJ Gallagher
“Any day I’m vertical
is a good day”
– that’s what I always say.
And I give thanks
that I’m healthy.
If you ask me,
“How are you?”
I’ll answer, “GREAT!”
because in saying so,
I make it so.
And I give thanks
that I can choose my attitude.
When Life gives me dark clouds and rain,
I appreciate the moisture
which brings a soft curl to my hair.
When Life gives me sunshine,
I gratefully turn my face up
to feel its warmth on my cheeks.
When Life brings fog,
I hug my sweater around me
and give thanks for the cool shroud of mystery
that makes the familiar seem different and intriguing.
When Life brings snow,
I dash outside to catch the first flakes on my tongue,
relishing the icy miracle that is a snowflake.
Life’s events and experiences
are like the weather –
they come and go,
no matter what my preference.
So, what the heck?!
I might as well decide to enjoy them.
there IS a time for every purpose
Each season brings its own unique blessings.
And I give thanks.
© BJ Gallagher 2009
(Note: You can learn more about this poet, speaker, and prolific author from her website, http://www.bjgallagher.com.)