For a while now I’ve been thinking about gratefulness. It’s probably been years that I’ve been thinking about it at this point. Gratefulness has bubbled up recently in a few ways in my life that prompted this post though.
As I type this, I feel like my dad was just here yesterday. I just want him to be here and I have so many things I want to tell him about in this moment. Like, for instance, how I finally have my two work monitors set up at my desk after over a year of working from home… haha. Working from a laptop wasn’t ideal, but I made it work. Now I’ll be even more efficient, I think!
I’m in a period of being confused, or at least in between emotions, more than usual. I’m caught up in wanting my Dad here – to talk to, to receive a side hug from as we walk up the concrete to the BOK Center, a full on hug when I get him new golf stuff or cologne (gotta keep ole Dad smelling good haha), to tell about fun and exciting things that happen around here, about the car shows and the car meets I wish I had gone to before he passed but I’m a chicken…. So I’m caught between that and being just glad that he is somewhere infinitely better than this world – a place of no more suffering or sadness or loss or sickness. Dad is safe.
It’s been hard to remind myself of gratefulness when I feel more loss than that gladness recently.
I’m grateful for the opportunities that God orchestrated for us to create memories that will last a lifetime. Some are from childhood and some are as recent as the year he passed.
I’m grateful for my Dad’s decision many moons ago to believe that Jesus was God’s Son, that He was born of a virgin, He was sinless, died on a cross for our sins and rose again to overcome.
I’m grateful that that brings me joy and security.
I’m grateful that God is mighty and is taking care of Dad.
Do you struggle with gratefulness when you lose a loved one? What helps you get through it?
A few weeks ago, I was reminded of how God gave me a grandma who is, by some bias, the best.
July 7th, 2007 (7-7-07), I was brought to the realization of how short life could be. At 11 years old, I was faced with the reality that my grandma could be gone in an instance. Before that day, I was a very different child. I didn’t treat my grandma with kindness or respect – I remember that her house was my favorite place to go, but being there, I’d want her to play with me or do certain things and I was easily angered. It was worse when I was lonely – feeling like an only child with no one to play with. I took my frustrations out on her. She was gracious toward me and didn’t say much, she never told my parents because I know that if she did, I would have been in big trouble.
That day in July, I was playing with my hot wheels and matchbox cars in the living room. My parents were in their respective recliners taking their Sunday afternoon naps, watching TV, the like. My mom’s cell phone rang (a Nokia!) and we left shortly after – “Mom’s been in a car accident,” she said. At that moment, I feared that I would lose my grandma. Didn’t people in car accidents die?
We arrived on scene and my grandma’s car was wrecked. It was smashed on the passenger side pretty bad from where the woman who was speeding hit my grandma as she was making a left turn into the mall that Sunday afternoon. My grandma didn’t have any real injuries, just some bruising from the airbag deployment.
God has given me all this time with her. He could have taken her away that day and I would have been crushed. I would probably be a different person today. She wouldn’t be here to influence me, take me to church or be an escape from home all those years. I’d also be filled with regret which would no doubt shape the person I am in some way.
Her being my only living grandparent since I was like a year old has been different for me. I didn’t appreciate her before 2007 like I do now. My gratefulness has grown over the years – as I’m sure age has something to do it with it, too. I’m so blessed to be able to call her a best friend and also live with her for the time being. She’s something special.
I’m reminded of my times of being ungrateful when I see kids these days. Kids, like I was once, are unaware of the sacrifices adults make for kids. They also don’t realize how good a life they have, what all has been provided for them.
My nephew, for example, is very vocal about his wants (you know how kids are though, they need everything, even if it’s not a need). If you don’t let them have a snack, it’s immediate death. An hour later, they’re miraculously still alive.
A lot of frustration can bubble up with an ungrateful child. It takes the grace of God more than anything to not let it get the best of you. After all, we experience ungratefulness at times in relation to God, don’t we?
God is a magnificent Father. He provides over and over again – things we don’t really notice, we don’t see all the working parts like he does. We ask God why. We cry out to Him in our frustrations, in our trials, in our disappointments, in our anger and in our confusion. Yet, He gives us comfort and peace to endure all these things.
We are His, at times, ungrateful children.
I hope my nephew remembers these times and looks back on them one day grateful for the opportunities he did take and the ones that really mattered most. It’s like yesterday he was a baby and this year he’ll be double digits. Time has flown by and now he’s getting closer and closer to being taller than his auntie. I’m shooketh.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.Psalm 9:1