This morning, as I awaken one week after my emergency surgery and one week prior to Thanksgiving – gratitude is on my mind. My body is healing while my mind is reeling. I have come to see a new side of thankfulness. It's the side that often remains trapped in the steely shadows. The juxtaposition of all that glitters. You see, that is the trouble with the process of being thankful. Sometimes in order to get there you have to stand in the shade.
Now don't get me wrong, it isn't as though my health is something I've ever taken for granted. And yet when I was attacked by one of my own organs, it seemed all at once that good health was something I hadn't exalted enough. It took some dark and painful days for me to truly pine for those bright, painless ones.
I realize that this is not necessarily a widespread problem. By God's good graces I have a roof above my head, and I've never needed to be homeless to appreciate that. Yet I think it's the little things we often overlook where gratitude is concerned. The easy smiles in those moments where worry is miles away. The hugs from those we love the most. The voices of our favorite people available to us at the push of a button.
They say you don't know what you have until it's gone. I venture an addendum to that statement. You don't know where your gratitude lies until you're suddenly swirling in a choppy sea of troubled waters. And thankfulness is a distant shoreline away.
Who among us hasn't silently whispered "There but for the grace of God go I" when we hear of some tragedy that isn't our own. And of course we are grateful to have skirted such strife.
Strife - the messy undercarriage of all that is good in the world.
It isn't humanly possible to walk around in a constant state of unwavering appreciation. The mindless minutia of our daily ritual makes that level of graciousness just another chore.
But, maybe right now, at this corner of what went wrong and what could be right, perhaps this is a perfect place to pause and think thankfully.
If only until the next intersection.