A WordPress Daily Prompt asked writers if we could only take five objects from a burning house, what would be the most difficult things for us to leave behind? Well really, the only objects I consider to be important are photos of family, my computer, passport and ID, a Bible and bank card, assuming that I am wearing my wedding ring and gold cross like always. That’s it. My grateful heart is not in stuff.
As for regrets, I really do not think that my heart is in things. Since I was a little girl, I have felt grateful for what I have materially. Even now, when my nine kids ask me what I want for Christmas, I pause for a moment with a blank mind. I have to search to come up with a list. I am content and grateful.
This is rather a strange state to be in because this is not the result of spiritual striving, fasting or prayer; it is just how I am. Living with little people has only strengthened an innate tendency to enjoy the little things, to be grateful to be alive and in communion with the Spirit. In addition, as a large family with barely enough cash but many blessings, we have experienced many incidents of God’s providence. This scripture resonates within all of us.
Do Not Worry
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. (Matthew 6:28-34)
Kids understand these words, reminding me that the key to happiness and joy is not stuff but gratefulness and appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us. There is much to be grateful for if we will simply stop for a moment and really see what actually surround us every day. Children delight in the plethora of tiny details all around them. They are born with a sense of wonder and the ability to enjoy simple pleasures. Perhaps it is because they are closer to the ground when we tried to go for a walk but they stopped at every flower and bug, especially a bug on a flower. As they look, touch, smell, even lick each wonderful new discovery, all their attention is riveted on that one thing. It was difficult to slow down during our walks and let the toddlers set the pace but it was a wonderful instruction in how to relax, be grateful and become fully present to the moment.
Children are Grateful
At first, I was only capable of enjoying whatever captured my children’s notice, but now I realize that they were experiencing so much more than I initially thought. In their silent, non-verbal attention to nature, they were in deep communion with God Himself as He is present in His creation. Adults struggle for years to merely glimpse the intimacy that little children have naturally with God. They do not need to strive or work for this state of contemplation because they are without guile, prior opinions or expectations; they are open and look with trust, ready to absorb the love, joy, and peace that envelopes them. Children are grateful for everything.
Ah, to live as a grateful person and in thankfulness is a taste of heaven. Even if I were to live in the midst of a concrete jungle, I could at least stop for a moment, look up and give thanks. I simply need to remind myself to glance upwards, above my little busy world and enjoy the sky.
The sky alone is an extravagant present that continually fills me with the joy if I remember to take a break from my ’important’ business to be grateful.
Copyright 2018 Melanie Jean Juneau