Most mornings the routine is the same. Turn off the alarm clock, come downstairs, turn on computer as I walk past it, walk into kitchen, fill electric kettle, turn it on, grind coffee beans, measure into French press, wait for water to boil, make the coffee, check email while coffee steeps, fix coffee and head to my chair. Sometimes I stop to read a little on the computer. That can be deadly and waylay my morning quiet time so it's best not to even sit down at the desk.
Yesterday morning, the routine was the same. A little shorter time to read since we head out the door early to co-op on Tuesdays. On my way there, of course I listened to the news - financial crisis, no gas in Charlotte, Wachovia being sold, and on and on and on. And then it struck me, in the midst of all that bad news, how good we have it here in the US.
Now, I know that many people really are hurting. And this crisis has not hit me personally so I could be accused of being callous. It's true, families have lost their homes, people will lose their jobs, some people will lose their retirement savings, some will be hungry. I realize that. Still, I couldn't help but think that we are complaining about gas because we have cars and use them to go places; we are complaining about losing money because we have it. What would be so bad if I couldn't find gas for a few days. I'd have to stay home. No co-op, no soccer games, no grocery shopping. Would that be so bad? We'd walk or ride bikes and eat rice and beans....like the rest of the world.
Like I said, I don't mean to be insensitive to those who are suffering more than me because of the gas situation, the job market, and the financial crisis. I know there are bad problems and hurting people. I don't want to be blind to true suffering.
Still, don't we have an awful lot in this country? Aren't we maybe just a bit selfish? A lot selfish? Isn't that part of the problem?
Now the only person whose selfishness I can do anything about is me. The greatest antidote for selfishness is thankfulness, searching thankfulness that seeks to praise the Giver for taken-for-granted blessings. So, this morning, I add to the 1000 gifts, some of the little things that I do and have and rarely stop to think about or thank God for:
213. I have a bed to sleep in and warm covers when it's cool.
214. I have indoor plumbing.
215. I have electricity.
216. I woke up this morning and was able to stand up and get out of bed and walk on my own two feet. I had a warm robe to put on.
217. I had hot water and coffee to drink, a beautiful mug, a computer to turn on, a desk to sit at, a chair for reading.
218. I have a Bible, a whole Bible, all in one piece, in the language I speak.
219. I have other books to read and paper to write on and pens and pencils.
22o. It is quiet and peaceful. Outside crickets chirp and birds sing. No guns, no fighting.
221. The sun came up.
222. I can hear.
223. Because I can hear, I know that my husband is stirring upstairs. He will get up and read his Bible and pray and give me a hug and a kiss when he comes downstairs.
224. I have sons, healthy sons, sleeping in beds upstairs. They will be with me all day today. They will both give me hugs and say sweet things to me.
225. I can see.
226. Because I can see, I can appreciate the beauty of this early morning as the light filters through the trees.
227. I will have food to eat for breakfast.
228. I will go to the store this morning and buy what I need to make food for my family for the rest of the week. I have a refrigerator to store it in so I don't have to buy food every day.
229. I have friends who will come for lunch.
230. I have several pairs of shoes and many changes of clothes.
231. I have a telephone, two telephones, and a cell phone. I can call anyone I want, anytime I want to.
232. I can smell - coffee, rosemary, bread baking, oak leaves, morning.
233. My son will play the piano and sing today. I get to listen.
234. Another son will come home tonight...and bring a friend. I get to open my home.
235. I have an electric stove that cooks my food and the turn of a knob. I have several pots and pans, baking sheets, skillets and I have dishes to eat off of, utensils, and glasses to drink out of.
236. I get clean water from the tap.
237. I have a radio. I can listen to the news or music.
238. Birds sing outside my house every single day. Not a day has gone by that I haven't heard birds singing.
239. I can read and learn.
240. I get to meet together tonight for Bible study and not be afraid that someone will burn down the house in which we meet.
There are more...oh, so many more blessings for which to give thanks. Little unnoticed gifts. Open my eyes today, Lord, to see them and express my gratitude in a thousand ways. A Puritan said it better,
Oh my God, Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects, my heart admires, adores, loves thee, my little vessel is as full as it can be, and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.
-Valley of Vision