When my dad passed away, I quickly learned how many people are uncomfortable with knowing what to say as people grieve. Although there were many encouraging remarks, some of the least helpful things that people said were variations on the theme that “time heals all wounds.” My experience has been that this is untrue. The shock of the loss may fade some, but there are still days that his absence catches me off guard. And there is not a single day that I don’t think of him and miss him. Not a single day.
However, in the midst of the daily recognition that I won’t see him again this side of Heaven, there is also the recognition that the reason why time doesn’t heal this wound is because of the wonderful dad that God blessed me with. The reasons that things hurt deeply is because we care deeply and my dad was purposeful about building a family marked by love. In this, there is the acknowledgment that although there is much to miss, there is also much for which to be thankful. The only reason I can rightly evaluate what is absent is because I’ve experienced the bountiful gift that having my dad was.
I wish that this allowed me to also say that there is not a single day that I haven’t been filled with thanksgiving for the gifts that God has graciously bestowed upon me. Because of our sinful nature we are more apt to focus on what we don’t have rather than acknowledging the blessings in what we have been given, even if we don’t have it anymore. However, it has reminded me that for the Christian there should not be a single day that is reserved for giving thanks. Instead, gratitude should characterize our lives.
It’s easy to focus on what’s missing, what we don’t have, and our disappointments. However, instead of what’s lacking being the focus of our attention, we would do well to daily acknowledge the blessings that are ours, which we don’t deserve, and we’ve done nothing to earn. In doing so, may there not be a single day that isn’t filled with thanks.
Now it’s your turn….
How do you make sure to daily express gratitude for the blessings you’ve been given?