On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well." Luke 17:11-19
Well, of course there are the obvious in your face ones, or what I like to refer to as, my "neon" blessings: health, family, a roof over our heads. And then there are old friends, kindly neighbors, access to coffee and good books. There is the Church: I struggle to even begin trying to explain why I am grateful for a decision my husband and I made back in January of 1998, when we held hands, held our breath, and took a colossal leap into the unknown by converting to Orthodox Christianity. I never dreamed, honest to goodness, that every single aspect of my being would be so challenged (oh, mercy), humbled and, ultimately, transformed by the depth, fullness, history, Tradition, sacraments, and holiness of this ancient Faith. No words, I tell you; there are no words to explain my continuous awe of the remarkable changes that can take place within a soul bound to a Body two-thousand-years-old, washed in the blood of Her martyrs, fortified by the Holy Spirit – a Body whose structure is still intact despite countless violent and intensive efforts to destroy Her, and the foolishness, selfishness, yes, the sinfulness of we Her members.
There is mercy and love and forgiveness.
There is Thai food.
There are plenty of other things, however, plenty of circumstances for which I, like the nine lepers healed, have forgotten to gives thanks. It isn't easy, but this racking of the brain to find the silver lining, the element of grace, in what from the outside appears to be but a series of either unfortunate or simply meaningless events, is one of the most eye-opening, refining processes an individual can voluntarily take part in. Developing a habit of gratitude could be life altering.
So, hmmm, let's see, there's insecurity, loneliness, kitchen floors that won't stay clean no matter how many times a week you break out the mop; there's slander, rejection, student loans, horrific hair days; there's forgetfulness, temper tantrums and traffic jams. Oh the plentiful opportunities for being driven to our knees in acknowledgement of our dependence on Christ for patience, courage and wisdom. I am thankful for being stretched; I'm far less prone these days to pass judgement on anyone because of my own flagrant shortcomings that tend to keep me in my place. I'm thankful for having to be satisfied with less.
Once again (I have to remind myself often, I'm sure you've noticed, to do this regularly), for all the occasions I've let slip by me to offer up gratitude and praise for what is (which is often far different, mind you, than how I wish things would be), God, please forgive me. I ask, with fear and trembling, that in spite of my wincing and phobia of suffering, I be given not what I want, but rather what I need in order to lose myself and, in everything and everyone, find You.
by Ronald Dondiego
I think I have forgotten something -
something of value, something of peace
something of the voice that echoes
along the distant waves, along the coast
along the shore where my heart meets the sea
The fog rolls in, oh have mercy on me
shine your light down upon my cloudy vision
show me what it is I need to know
to push like wind against this hypocrisy
against this illusion, this masquerade ball
where the dancers dance entranced
by their own vanity
Yes, indeed, I have forgotten something
I have forgotten to say thankyou
for this day, for these tears, for this heart
which beats slightly off beat to the music
of what really matters, to the stars whose voices
le="text-align: left;">are always full of grace.
Happy Thanksgiving, all!! I'll be back on Monday.
Forgotten Gratitude: 49 of 365