My husband grew up next to a couple of brothers. The older brother who was around our age, ended up being the best man in our wedding. The younger brother was an usher at our wedding. A couple years after we were married the younger brother was attending a local college and as he did occasionally, he was driving back home to have lunch with his mom. His girlfriend would often run home with him, but on this particular day he told her he was going to run home by himself. When he was less than 2 miles from his home, he was hit head on by a drunk driver. He was killed instantly. The depth of their family’s grief I hope to never truly understand. At the funeral home there was so much sadness, but I remember so many people I talked with, we would talk about how grateful we were that he didn’t suffer and that his girlfriend wasn’t also in the car that day.
If you have heard me speak or write about our oldest son, I have shared this many times over the years. When we were at the medical center, right after we were told Steven could only see basically light and dark at 4 ½ months old. There were so many things going through my mind at that time. In amongst our grief and sorting through many emotions, one of things I remember feeling, was so grateful that Steven didn’t have something worse. As we started sharing with other friends and family about Steven’s sight we would regularly remind them as well, that there were so many worse things than what we were dealing with. So far that, we had to be grateful.
A few years ago a small group of ladies from our church heard Ann Voskamp speak at a Women of Faith event. I won’t give away her whole story, but I would defiantly encourage you to read her book One Thousand Gifts if you haven’t before. Their family suffered a tragedy and she shares some of that journey. In her book and when we heard her speak, a challenge was made to write down one thousand things you are grateful for. Our pastor’s wife, who is also a dear friend, encouraged all of us ladies to write 3 to 5 things every day that we were grateful for. Part of the challenge is to not put anything down more than once. Those first few days were easy! My family (knowing you have to come up with 1,000 I wrote each name down separately!), my job, our church, my health, our home and so on… What Ann found and many of us, that stuck with this into the 100’s also found was you had to look for gratefulness in the smaller daily things. The beautiful blue sky that day, the pink sunset, the cool breeze on a warm day, the close parking spot at the mall, no line at the grocery store and so on.
If you have never done this, I want to encourage you to try it! I have talked to some that love to do this at night before they go to bed, others do it in the morning. Either way it’s a great way to end a day, and it’s also a great way to start your day. Maybe you’ve done this before but it’s been a while. Today is a great day to start it up again. I also encourage you when you are having a bad day, read back through a few pages! God often shows up in the little things to help strengthen us to get us through the big things!