Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself in 2015


A few days before the new year, big sister and hubby invited me to escape with them to Galveston Island. Although the weather turned rainy and cold before we left, the time away was exactly what I needed: Stress-free days with people who love me. It was also a time of inward reflection, counting blessings, looking forward—those things I do as one year ends and a new one unfolds.


During breakfast one morning, in the cafe downstairs, an older couple came in with a woman in a wheelchair. By all appearances, she was their adult daughter. About 40 years old, and very disabled. Her head was tilted to the right. Her eyes were opened wide, and her mouth never closed. There was no sign of understanding from her. No sounds of any kind. No movements. Just sitting and staring.

As the dad pushed her by our table, bumping into a few chairs along the way, he chuckled and said they were "used to that." My sister and I looked at each other. No words were needed. We knew how blessed we were with healthy adult daughters, living on their own.


Later that evening, in the lobby, a male trio played jazz music for guests of the hotel. A few feet in front of the piano sat the disabled girl in her wheelchair, her mother close by. 

At one point, the musicians took a break, and as casual chatter ensued, the piano player walked over and kissed the silent girl on the forehead. Only then did I recognize him as the same man who had pushed her into the cafe that morning, bumping into chairs as they settled in. Who would've known this gifted musician, spreading joy in such a masterful way, was the father of a severely disabled child? I wondered if I would be so strong. I think I would cry every day. But not this man. Somewhere in time, he had made peace with his challenging circumstances, and had moved on with his life.

As the music resumed, I was reminded of the Apostle Paul's instructions to rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances. He didn't say we should be thankful for all circumstances, but we are to give thanks in all circumstances. Even without a disabled child, giving thanks isn't always easy to do—we all know that. However, gratitude is a glorious gift we can give to ourselves.

Melody Beattie describes it this way: "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."

Chances are, life in 2015 won't be without heartaches and sighs. However, if gratitude can fill our hearts every day—sunrise to sunset—our lives will be full the whole year long. ♦

I'm linking to:

18 comments:

  1. This is a really important reminder. Thanks for sharing. It is hard to be thankful in all things, but when we think ourselves happy like Paul, we find blessings in our trials. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very moving post. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. beautiful post, thank you for sharing....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautiful writing and I love the Melodie quote. I have a few of her books and they speak truth on many levels... so glad you had a chance to get away for short trip.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you so much for this post!! Gratitude really is what it's allllll about....!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just what I needed today
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Gayle, I am completely blown away right now by your post. It hasn't been more than a half an hour ago that I looked into the little "grateful jar" that I put in my counter a few days after the new year started. As I often do, I start something and then "forget" about it and fail to carry it through. My intent was to write something that I was grateful for...regardless how big or small...write it a little slip of paper and put it in the jar EVERY DAY. At the end of the year on New Year's Eve, the point is to take them all out and read them. Well, this morning I realized that I had even failed to be consistent for less than 3 weeks...I have already missed several days this week! I even began writing a post and took photos of my little jar... and there it sits, still on my dashboard, unpublished. If reading your post this morning wasn't the Lord speaking to me loud and clear, I must be completely deaf! You have inspired me to get back on track and fulfill my commitment to myself and to God. Thank you, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet, Debby, I'm honored to be a vessel. Your idea is a noble one, indeed.

      Delete
  8. I am here from Debby Ray's link. It is such a coincidence to come visit this post. We were at the doctor's office yesterday and a fairly young woman was in there with her two sons. One of them had Tourette's syndrome and it was just so hard on her to keep him under control. I am not sure how old he was, I am thinking 10-12 yrs old. He as big for his age. Going to be a big guy.

    Us, another woman and I think her grandson looked at each other. All feeling sorry for the woman, and also I am sure being thankful we had healthy, or fairly healthy children. (Maybe the grandson was not thinking that, but could tell he had empathy for the mother.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Gayle! I'm here from a link at Debby's blog.
    What a great thought. To give thanks always, not because its good, but because it is. All circumstances.
    What a powerful morning you had, just going to breakfast. God is so creative, isn't he? I'm so happy that you were listening to his message.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gayle, I found your blog through Debby's post. Thank you so much for sharing such a simple yet profound moment with us. Nice to meet you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Gayle,

    Upon Debby Ray's suggestion, I am visiting your wonderful and inspiring post, here today, on gratitude. Your account of that loving family, their attitude, and the quote by Melody Beattie, has truly touched my heart and soul, today. Thank you for sharing, and have a lovely week.

    Poppy

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am rereading on Debby's suggestion...how could I have forgotten this?!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your heart here--and for sharing this inspiring story! I've pinned this to my "Soul Food" board. And thanks for joining Grace at Home--I'm featuring you this week!

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's interesting what we learn by simple observation, isn't it? Unfortunately many don't take the time to simply sit back and watch!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This post reminded me of when my 16 year old son was diagnosed with brain cancer and then shortly after suffered a major stroke. He couldn't move his left side nor could he eat. Over a short period of time he was able to eat and started talking. He was able to use his left leg, he couldn't use his left arm or walk yet though. He passed away after an 11 month stay at Children's Hospital. I always gave thanks to God for the little things during that time. Even when he was near death a few times due to the large doses of Chemo. I thanked God in those times too. I had no other choice then to find some kind of hope in those situations. When he passed, I was upset with God. After a short time, and a lot of teaching about times like this from my mom. I was able to give all the Glory to God for all of his suffering and his passing. I miss my son. So. Much. But, I know I will see him again.

    Thanks for such a beautiful post. I try to always thank God for the little things and the big things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cathy, for sharing your story. It touched me deeply.

      Delete