But everything’s happened on schedule
from the rain and the cold
To the drink that I spilled on my shirt
‘Cause You knew how You’d save me
before I fell dead in the garden
And You knew this day
long before You made me out of dirt
~Caedmon’s Call, “Table for Two”
Things I’ve taken for granted since waking up this morning:
-waking up this morning
-the 7 hours of sleep I had
-breakfast to eat
-more than enough clothing to choose from
-a functioning, comfortable vehicle
-a safe drive to work
-the clean drinking water I’ve been enjoying since 8 a.m.
-high speed internet
-shoes on my feet
My thoughts upon rising more easily roll toward the expectations of the day. What do I want out of the day? What will be expected of me? What responsibilities should I fulfill? Will I like the weather today? Will I have time to relax this evening? Can I sleep ten more minutes? Even when they are not negative, my thoughts hang back from the realm of joy. If my mind catches on to a specific good thing, it lifts with gladness. Maybe that gladness is enough to shape my mood for the day, maybe it isn’t. Falls pretty far short of joy, wouldn’t you say? Isn’t it in the character of joy to be enduring? Joy, true joy, is unaltered by the passing bad things, and certainly not weakened by the abundance of what I treat as neutral things. It is not an emotion, though it can influence our emotions at every turn.
It isn’t that I expect myself to become someone who is always consciously thankful for these and all the other things I simply assume will exist in my life. Nonetheless, I do expect myself to be consciously thankful for them on occasion, and to always be subconsciously thankful. That is, to live in a state of gratitude. Even when not pondering the particular blessings, the thankfulness can be present – a resident of my soul. Gratitude gives rise to joy, to graciousness and to the desire to worship. Joy is indeed enduring, but it is contingent on an enduring effort to choose joy.
Perhaps it is precisely in the overlooked that I could find strength for the effort. For it is all granted by God, is it not? It is in His hands, in His will, whether I wake today or I do not. When I come around to these moments of recognition, I must round the corner from gratitude for what has been given to joy in knowing the Giver.
And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other. ~St. Augustine