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The Gift of Gratitude

By: Heather Wolper

The other day I sat at a red light on my way to the grocery store. As I waited, I began to tick through a mental list of things we needed, milk, eggs, grapes, bread. . .

And then I noticed the line of cars crossing my path with the tell tale flags of grief waving from their windows in the chilly grey air. 

In that moment, I forgot my grocery list. I forgot about how much I had to spend and how much time I had until the bus arrived and I began to weep. 

I wept with the weight of gratitude that comes from almost losing, and then finding one more day.

One more day to hear the words I love you. 

One more day to say them back. 

One more day to clean up messes and make meals. 

One more day to read bedtime stories and trudge through homework. 

One more day to wrap my arms around the warmth of a little boy who calls me mama.

One more day to live and breathe together.

So as I waited for one car after another to pass on their way to a cemetery up the road, I wept with the weight of knowing how close we had come to going to a funeral for our little boy.

But, God is his great mercy rescued our son from death and gave us another day.

In the days that followed, I was thankful for the very breath in my lungs in a way I’ve never been before. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the chance to experience each and every beautifully mundane moment of the day. 

How I long to live with that overflowing of gratitude everyday. I pray that it would stay as fresh as the moment he woke and saw my face. I pray that it would be as new as the moment he figured out how to move his mouth again and told me, “I love you, mama.” I pray that it would not fade. 

I pray that I would live with an abundance of gratitude for each and every moment. Because, to be honest sometimes I struggle. 

Our moments aren’t all pretty and perfect and worthy of a framed photo. Often, they are gritty and messy and exhausting. Sometimes, they make me want to scream with frustration or weep with discouragement, but each one, each gritty, beautiful, messy one is a gift. 

Each exhale. 

Each inhale. 

Each new morning. 

It is a gift.

So I will purpose to live each day like I’m about to lose it. I will purpose to see the gifts in front of me and give thanks. 

When I grow weary and irritated, I will sing praise.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4

When I grow discouraged and impatient, I will pray for an overflowing of thankfulness.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

When I want to rip my hair out over a pile of freshly squeezed toothpaste in the sink or wet toilet paper wads stuck to the walls or a tantruming three year old, I will take a breath and pray for a few more heaping scoops of grace and for the gratitude for the gift of day to flood over me once again. 

“I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you.” Psalm 118:21,28

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