Two and a half weeks ago, at 4:00am, my fifteen year old daughter woke up in excruciating pain. We found ourselves in the Emergency Room one hour later, and ended up staying for nearly eight hours, due to what turned out to be an extremely large ovarian cyst. Then last week, I found myself at the ER again – but this time, with my seventeen year old daughter, who had seriously injured her back in a tennis match.
I was not a happy camper. Not only was I now worried about both of my daughters, but the ER is the last place in the world I want to spend my time, especially twice in one month.
After several hours of waiting, again, my patience had worn thin, to say the least. The very least.
I began to wonder why it was called the “emergency room”, when the staff did not seem to view any situation as an actual emergency. I will spare you the rest of the thoughts that were racing through my mind, so as not to incriminate myself.
But the bottom line is, I was NOT feeling like a positive person AT ALL. In fact, I had decided that I would wait about five more minutes before I said some less-than-positive words to the nurse at the registration desk.
Just before I was about to get up and probably say something I would regret, a young man walked in, and stood patiently at the desk behind a few other people. This young man stood out from the crowd, mainly because his neat-as-a-pin-black-suit was a far cry than the pajamas and sweat pants that most patients were adorning.
As he stood there in his elegant suit, with perfect posture, hands cupped neatly behind his back, he looked as if he were standing at attention at a military ceremony.
After a short while, he sat down in a chair in between me and an older gentleman who had been there as long as we had.
The older gentleman’s curiosity was apparently peaked as well, and he asked the young man why he was wearing a black suit, of which he responded that he was a security guard. Then he asked him if he had had a good day, and the young man responded, “Yes. Yes I did. Every day is a blessed day, you know.”
His statement struck me. My daughter turned to me and asked if I had heard his reply, because it had struck her too. This man was in the ER, just like we were. Yet… he felt…. blessed.
Both my daughter and I felt our spirits lighten, and we both smiled, simply because of his comment about being blessed. His optimism and attitude of gratitude was contagious. And we caught it.
I immediately became acutely aware of the fact that I had not viewed this day as a blessing. I was tired, frustrated, worried about the well being of my daughters and fretting over the many hospital bills that would soon be arriving in my mailbox. I had been focusing on everything negative that had happened on this day and those thoughts led to more and more negativity in my mind, and my heart.
So when I heard a total stranger say that “every day is a blessed day”, it was a little reminder from God that even in the midst of a negative situation, I can make the choice to be positive. I can determine what kind of attitude I will have. My attitude can be contagious too – and I certainly want it to be something worth catching.
Life may not always be a full bowl of cherries, but there are always lots of sweet cherries in the bowl.
So today – choose to be thankful. Choose an attitude of gratitude – for everything.
For the big things. For the little things.
For the hard things. For the easy things.
For the pain. For the blessings.
For grace. For mercy.
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live
Day Seven Challenge Activity: Develop an attitude of gratitude.
Spend the rest of the day thanking God for your blessings. Focus on the positives, instead of the negatives. And spend some time looking……
1) Looking up: thank God for who He is…………. thank Him for who He is to you. For nature and all of His creations that we benefit from, for guidance, love, direction, grace……….
2) Looking in: thank God for who you are……..all the things that make you, you. For what He has done for you and your life. For what He has done in you, through you. For all the things you have accomplished, achieved, overcome.
3) Looking around: thank God for all He has given you – food, clothes to wear, a roof over your head, family, friends, pets, jobs, community, country, service opportunities, shoes, breath, health, good medical care, insurance – the list is infinite.
Consider compiling a “blessings list” and a “hardships list”. You might be surprised to see that the blessings far outweigh the hardships, but until doing this excercise, it didn’t feel that way at all.
Pray without ceasing, and refrain from saying Amen, until you cannot think of one single other thing to be thankful for!