I’ve been thinking about thankfulness a lot lately.
First, it was because Thanksgiving was coming, and, well, what else are you supposed to think about before Thanksgiving? Then, it was because of Christmas, and all the many aspects of this holiday that I love so very much.
With all those thoughts swirling around in my head, I imagined it would be fun to go through my thankfulness journal—a record of 1,000-plus blessings that took me more than three-and-a-half years to complete—and make a top 10 list.
My thankfulness journal is precious to me. Several weeks ago, right before the hard drive on our personal computer bit the dust, it was the only file I sent to my internet email account just in case Randy’s multiple backups somehow didn’t work.
I do most of my writing on our laptop, but the PC holds thousands of pictures, videos and other documents we’ve collected for more than a decade. Many of those are priceless, too, but the document titled “1,000 Gifts” is the one I was sure to save.
Intentionally noticing and then writing down the things I’m thankful for is a comforting and settling practice. It’s not just the discipline of doing this that is so beneficial, however. It’s also a huge blessing to have a written record of God’s faithfulness during years of great change and sometimes even turmoil around and within me.
I must admit that there were months on end, during those three-and-a-half years, when I didn’t write down a single thing. But rather than focus on the blank spots, I love to read what I actually did write—recollections and details that would have disappeared from my memory forever had I not recorded them.
I didn’t stop at 1,000, by the way. Once I hit that milestone on Aug. 18 of this year, I decided to keep going, and I have no plans to stop anytime soon.
Choosing 10 favorites seemed like a quick and easy idea for a blog post, during a season when quick and easy is just what I need. So I opened up the Word document that contains my list and started browsing. And it soon became clear that this wasn’t going to be as easy as I expected.
A few trends were obvious right from the start.
It seems I derive great joy from noticing the first shoots of anything sprouting out of the ground in the spring. Daffodils, lilies, peonies, Siberian irises—you name it, I’m thankful for it! Cardinals (the aviary variety) show up rather frequently (there is a story there but we’ll save that for another day), as do affirmative answers to prayer and (sometimes halting) thanksgiving for prayers that were not answered how I had hoped, but clearly were answered nonetheless.
Some entries in the journal are a few short words, while others are more lengthy. I wasn’t looking for items of any particular length, but as I read, I did notice that many of the most meaningful ones have a back story. In current form, they wouldn’t make sense to anyone but me (and perhaps Randy).
I figured that prefacing each item on the top 10 list with an introduction would completely ruin the effect (not to mention negate the “quick and easy” thing I was after), so I decided to discard the entire idea of writing a blog post based on my 1,000 gifts list.
Then something happened late last week, something that resulted in several journal entries that actually do tell the whole story. It’s as clear in my mind as it was the moment it happened, and because of that, I want to share it with you today.
On Dec. 5, 2014, here’s what I was thankful for:
• That the crossing guard at Molly’s school takes her job very seriously, especially since someone crashed a vehicle into one of the traffic lights at the crossing a few weeks ago, disabling all the signals at the intersection until a new one can be installed.
• That Molly was the only child with the crossing guard when she crossed the street to meet me after school yesterday.
• That because she was the only child there, Molly was able to hear the crossing guard when she shouted—very loudly—at the truck driver who had ignored the guard’s stop sign and was driving straight through the intersection where Molly was crossing.
• That when she heard the shout, Molly stopped suddenly, halting her progress directly into the path of the truck.
• That Molly’s birthday is Monday, and she will be 10 years old.
P.S. Thankful to be linking up this week with Jerralea at the Loft.