Before my little girl Maya was born, I remember praying so very hard for her to have perfect health. Not just every time we went to the OB/GYN for another sonogram, and not just on labor day, but every night as far as I can remember. I just begged God for her to come out healthy. It was the same with my little boy Ravi. I prayed so hard for him to be born healthy. Well, when both of them came out and passed inspection by the doctor and nurses, I remember just staring at their little faces and hands and toes and being so filled with gratitude. I noticed the intricacy of their features. I paused and processed. I ignored every other possible distraction, and was fully present in that moment. I focused solely on what was important – the baby in front of me. And I lingered there, and really thought through what I was thankful for. All of it caused my heart to swell.
I loved feeling that way. It felt peaceful, and safe. Right then and there, everything felt okay with the world.
With humongous moments like the birth of a child, or seeing your bride-to-be walk down the aisle toward you, thankfulness is natural. As it should be. I think most of us know deep down we aren’t owed anything by life, and are genuinely are filled with gratitude when something amazing happens. But this morning while spending time with God on my favorite chair, I just looked around and noticed the small things – and then paused, processed, and thought them through. I saw the vent above me, and felt thankfulness that we have air conditioning in our home. I looked at a framed picture collage of our trip to Ireland on the wall, and felt grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to travel. I glanced over at our fake Christmas tree, and was so glad that it doesn’t shed like a real tree would because I’m very tired of bending over to pick up my kids’ toys and particles of food. I caught a glimpse of my guitar in the corner, and felt happy that God has helped me to keep music in my life despite how busy it has become with two kids. I looked at the pillow on my lap, and honestly appreciated the fact that it was just the right plumpness to support my arms and the devotional I was reading.
It was so nice to see things with fresh eyes, with a fresh perspective. Like you, my attention moves so quickly from one thing to the next that I rarely stop to fully process and value the small stuff. Even though my whole life is basically the small stuff – with the exception of major milestones like marriages and births that occur so infrequently. I also understand doing this is much more possible when no one else is demanding anything of me, and when I’m surrounded by silence.
Like you, my eyes and my attention move so quickly from one thing to the next that I rarely stop to fully process and value the small stuff. Even though my whole life is basically the small stuff – with the exception of major milestones like marriages and births that occur so infrequently.
But I also believe that everyone can find a pocket of time each day or each night to just sit alone in the stillness, observe what’s around you, think about the small things, and be thankful. Even if it’s in your car before you come into your home. Maybe you’ll remember something you’ve never thanked Him for. Maybe it will give God the opportunity to remind you that He hasn’t forgotten about you. And maybe it’ll improve your perspective – at least for a few minutes. And that’s a good start, I’d say.
God wants us to give Him thanks for everything, maybe especially the little things. And I want to take more time and intentionality to do that because somehow, there is real peace in those moments. And safety. I think we all could use more moments when everything feels okay with the world, even if they don’t last very long.
And as we do this, maybe the next moment will last a little bit longer than the one before.
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