The Power of Simple Thanks

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Last weekend we had an ordinary Saturday, starting with granddaughter Sugar Lump’s first Easter egg hunt. We gathered with hundreds of varying sizes of cuteness along with their parents and grands, straining to hear the countdown.

At the right time, we surged forward, gently, with the others. We had no expectations of how many eggs, just a few. Just enough.

My hubby picked up a few plastic eggs as I snapped photos to give to Sugar Lump’s mommy and daddy, both working. For me, the thankful moment came when hubby handed Sugar Lump a pink plastic egg. She contemplated it, turning it over in her hands, and a satisfied smile broke out on her eight-month-old face.

None of the other eggs mattered to her, just that one simple egg. And we were done.
The ordinary Saturday continued with breakfast—which included real eggs—at our local mom ‘n pop restaurant, the one where you get coffee in mismatched coffee mugs, and you have to negotiate past elbows and boots to get to an empty table.

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Hubby and I had our coffee, and Sugar Lump had a fresh bottle, then handfuls of scrambled egg. She ogled the old-timers meeting up for their breakfasts, and exchanged babbles with a toddler another table away. Just an ordinary Saturday, and again I gave thanks.

Nap time came, followed by a seize-the-moment of a sunny Texas spring day and a photo opportunity in a field of bluebonnets. Shooting, shooting, photo after photo, as Sugar Lump touched the flowers, pulled strands of grass, and laughed at her Papa after he made sure the blanket of flowers contained no snakes.

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I gave thanks for an ordinary patch of grass at the edge of an ordinary Texas town. The bluebonnets will be gone within several weeks—but at the moment, I was thankful for them.

Ordinary days like this sparkle when looking back at months of trials, tests, surgeries, on the heels of grief and loss. When the world as you know it spirals out of control, you long for ordinary.

2013 was such a year, with three cancer diagnoses—an aggressive, malignant tumor in my mother-in-law, a swiftly growing muscle tumor followed by an “incidental” discovery of thyroid cancer in my husband, him closing his business after nearly 16 years and reentering a traditional workforce, all punctuated by uncounted doctor and specialist visits, weeks of unpaid leave from work, MRIs and CAT scans, biopsies, surgeries, hospital stays, nursing home visits for mother-in-law, and then the pain of a family gathered at her bedside two days after Mother’s Day.

When going through uncertainty and no answers from above, or delayed answers, it’s tempting to grumble. Tears come, tiredness comes. Surgeries, doctor appointments, treatments, paying the bills, trying to work and take care of everyone—it all adds up and there’s a numbness that comes.

One morning—I don’t remember when, exactly—I knew I didn’t want to get up. Before my eyelids really opened, all the things pressing on me pushed harder. What did God want from me? What was I supposed to do?

I simply gave thanks. For our home, for its snug corners and big kitchen. For the kids, no longer children. For little Sugar Lump and her smiles. For our jobs. For our families, and friends who love us. For the food in the refrigerator. For the fact that I can move and breathe and walk.

That morning was followed by another like it, and another. I didn’t count them. I didn’t entertain the option of staying in bed for more than a few seconds. Too many people were counting on me.

Now we’re on the other side, and the world feels as though it’s somewhat on its axis again, although it’s a bit tilted and won’t go back to how it was before.

But being simply thankful—thanking God for what He’s done, how I see His presence in the most ordinary things, kept me going.

I don’t know that hard times of trial like we experienced last year won’t ever recur again, but I am convinced of the power of simple thanks.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15

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Lynette Sowell (13 Posts)

Lynette Sowell is the award-winning author of more than 15 titles for Barbour Publishing, Harlequin, and Abingdon Press. When she's not writing fiction, she chases down stories for her city newspaper and writes a weekly column, "My Front Porch." Lynette was born in Massachusetts, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband. Fond of all things coffee and chocolate, Lynette also loves to travel, read, try new recipes, dabble in crafts, and is always up for a Texas road trip.


Comments

  1. Saying thank you in the hard times is one thing that can make it a little easier. But it’s oh so hard to get started. Here’s to looking for the simple wonderful things we get everyday. Thank you for your post. It was a simple wonderful thing in my day.

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