Through everything I have been trying to keep up a list of thankfulness. Especially on non-chemo weeks, the “thanks” is easy to find. On chemo weeks, well it is a struggle to say the least. But there are so many things I am thankful for. So many blessings that have occurred through this torrent.
This morning I was lucky enough to get to experience one I did not expect to find. Today is my daughter’s first day of 3rd grade. Normally, I would be working and my morning would have consisted of my rushing through all the morning ritual, while having to use every method under the sun to get her ready on time. This typically would progress from encouragement, to irritation, to threats, to me wondering how others do this without losing their minds. However this morning, I could concentrate 100% on her. I could pack her backpack for her and pull her lunch together with an encouraging note for her to find. I could do something a little more elaborate with her hair. Encouragement was the name of the morning. It was a happy and enjoyable experience, one which I had never gotten before. And then, the icing on the cake, was to be able to put her on the bus. Normally her daycare provider or my grandparents get the privilege. But today, it was all mine. Today I got to pray with her before she hopped out of the car. Pray for a good year, pray for a wonderful teacher experience, pray for her to make more friends and have fun. Again things that, if they happened, were rushed and hectic. Normally I wouldn’t be able to see the joy and privilege in the experience. And let me tell you, I am grateful for it.
And this one hour in the day led me on a path to ponder the rest of my “Thanks” List. To what depths am I taking the list? And am I really letting it affect me as it should. That list should encourage me to want to be better, to do better. It should make me strive to make the best of the torrent for myself, my child, and all those around me. The privilege I have of seeing the rays of love from God should encourage me to express it in ways others can see and experience as well. It should be the predominant feeling, not the grumbles for how my life is currently on a rocky path.
I remember a few years back when I was on another rocky path, a wonderful friend of my in Georgia told me to write a list of things I am thankful for. Then it was so difficult to find things. He gave me the random number of 30 things and it took me a few days to find those 30. But during those few days it really required me to dig deep and really process some of the joys I had continued to overlook.
So maybe that is the problem with society, with the world, with myself. We continue to overlook the multitude of joys that God has granted us on a day to day basis. We refuse to see the rays of sunlight that is lovingly given to us. All we see is the pain, the difficult nature of our current path. All we see is where we would rather be, instead of enjoying this one moment. We long for what we don’t have, instead of seeing the awesomeness of where we currently are.
So I am giving myself the goal of finding those 30 and hopefully beyond. I also encourage you to find your 30 and beyond. The list should grow more each day, it should be an evergreen process (one that never stops changing and growing). I hope and pray this will encourage the joy in my life and those that I touch. For when you possess the joy of God and the appreciation of what He does for you, it shows. Those around you take notice and want to be in it.
Does that mean that I will enjoy the day before chemo? Probably not. Does it mean that I won’t get frustrated at the side-effects and limitations due to the treatments? I doubt it. However, I will try to find the joys that those days provide. The path through the “Refiner’s Fire” is not meant to be easy or painless. It is meant to change a person into something better, and with that comes difficulties and stresses. With that growth, comes the growing pains. But now I can see that with the pains comes joys. God provides those rays of sunshine, He provides that encouragement when it is least expected. It is our job to try and look for them. It is our task to appreciate them and savor them. And now to working on that list.