What Thanks?

With deepest regards to Ann Voskamp.


Gratitude in the midst of suffering. Eucharisteo. Choosing to accept the bad as well as the good, seeing them as parts of the same whole.

Shadows teach us to appreciate the light. Rain make us grow. Winter bids us rest. Pain wakes us up. “Thank God for the dirty dishes/ They have a tale to tell/ While others may go hungry/ We’re eating very well.”

I repeat Scripture and truisms, but my heart wears heavy pain. I speak praises and affirm faith from a node of agony. I endure; I do not thrive. I do not count this joy. I hate the gifts and shove them from me. I would rather lie numb and shocky than wake up to recovery. I do not want pain or anything that comes from it.

Healing comes after admitted injury. Healing requires playing the deal. I left the cards on the table abandoned without backward glancing. I so nearly fell off the edge of the world.

To be thankful for all that? All this? To lift drenched eyes and clenching-bruised hands and say, “God’s grace!” To feel the sliced-edged beating heart and proclaim, “He is good!” To wrap empty arms around empty self and declare, “Love everlasting!” Can I do such a thing? Can I not and live?

How dare God require smiles and cheer from shattering? How dare the surgeon require movement from the broken limb? Healing requires movement. Gratitude propels us out of our misery. We would coddle our pains until natural healing leaves us warped and unable to use. Divine healing realigns the edges for stronger repair and restoration.

We see the whole when we lift our eyes away from anguish and turn to gratitude’s dawn.


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