Gratitude Check

Some days are more difficult than others, living in this messy, broken world.

Just before heading to bed last night, Guy turned on the evening news and heard that the little girl, missing for days in his hometown, had been found dead. The suspect? A 15-year-old neighbor. Tragedy times two, two broken childhoods.

Quietly, I slipped into Tween’s room as he slept. I laid down next to him, caressed his face, kissed him gently, prayed and cried. The girl’s mama couldn’t cuddle her baby, couldn’t feel the soft whisper of breath on her cheek. The boy’s mama? I can’t even imagine. And they’re not alone; how many mamas are brokenhearted today? Tween rolled over, content in dreamland, as I uttered, Thank you, God, thank you!, and left him to rest.

We awoke this morning to learn that the sirens we heard last night were in response to a fire at our friends’ house. As I always do when I hear sirens I prayed: Thank you, God, for sending help. And thankfully everyone is okay, but their young kids are understandably scared. This makes two local families who have had fires in the last two weeks. Stuff lost, hassles in progress. It could be worse, but it’s bad enough.

Another mama whispered her feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness. And the shame that comes with knowing just how blessed you are and still feeling wildly out of sorts. Head and heart disconnect and she’s not alone. We hear the shattered voices in our head, know our own aches and pains, and compare that with others’ beautiful exteriors. Our cell phones keep silent, not because we’ve silenced them, and we think no one is thinking of us. We lose in comparison, even as we know we shouldn’t compare because we will always lose that insidious game.

Some days the brokenness becomes too obvious, too overwhelming. How do we respond?

Writer Kristi Atkinson encourages: “Everything that happens in the world is an opportunity for us to move in love towards God and others.” She wrote a helpful article on praying the news. As we pray, we seek to connect with God’s heart for a hurting world. Then God directs us how to move forward in love, whether that means more prayers or tangible assistance.

And we give thanks because…

thankful

@Ann Voskamp

Even if the something isn’t directly related to the heart ache, and maybe some days it cannot be directly related to the heart ache, we can unearth some reason to be grateful: the air we breathe, a new green shoot of life bearing witness, even the beating of the heart which can be broken.

So, for today, here’s my partial list: a new book I’m reading with Tween; a hot summer day and a house that stays (mostly) cool; the noise of boys playing; sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon; easy, healthy food; daily posts of pictures from the week-long camp Teen is attending; time to draw a silly picture I will mail to Teen; the ability to help as help is needed; our small town that generously responds to others’ needs; health; so much love.

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