Unzipping Gratitude

Hands on the wheel, sunglasses in place, she was ready to venture out into a sun-shiny day, a glaring contrast to the months of overcast skies, inversion fog, rain, lingering pandemic gloom. Some days even the sun was too bright, so used had the world become to the pall of gray that lay over it, the suffocating air of despair that just would not blow away. Even dark chocolate had betrayed her, proof now sitting on her widening girth.

While driving to her doctor’s appointment her mind wound round text messages from the morning. One in particular stood out, the one about gratitude. She had had to pause to think about that a bit… what was she really truly grateful for? So much concern and worry had nipped at her heals for so long, she was used to watching out for its incessant, annoying presence. Somehow it had captured her mind, her focus. She knew better, that there was good beyond all the yuk, still there she was. Stuck. In protective defensive mode.

A prayer came to her lips as she continued in the flow of traffic. A plea for all those tiresome worries about her family… did God ever get weary of such ongoing woeful lament? Then suddenly, an embarrassed laugh spilled out of her, “Well, God, I guess I could start by thanking You for some positive things, like that You love them more than I do, and today they are okay. Thank You things are not harder than they are at this very moment. Thank You for listening to me no matter what I have to say.” Driving on, thinking of other blessings, she pulled to a stop behind a car waiting at a red light. And laughed again. There on the bumper in front of her, in bold capital letters, were the words “In God We Trust.”

It was then she realized her hands were gripping the steering wheel like her life depended on it. Her shoulders were tight. She needed to relax. Even with her previous attitude of gratitude, she was still a hot mess of nerves. “In God We Trust! If I really trust You, LORD, I guess I don’t need to strangle this steering wheel! I can actually let go of the tension I’m holding in my shoulders. I can just breathe… and let go of the worry.” And so she did, immediately noticing her body losing its tightness as she placed her thoughts on the hope of God’s goodness, and not on ill.

No, she did not hear angels singing at that very moment, but something akin to a well-known allergy commercial occurred. The dull, smoggy tainted blue sky seemed to unzip, from the top down, turning to a clear brilliant blue. The sun shown brightly, yet did not cause her to want to take solace in the shadows. No, it was an invitingly beautiful day.

Arriving home after her appointment, sky still clear blue, sun still bright, the lady surprised herself and took a walk. Just a plain old everyday walk. The kind in a neighborhood where sidewalks changed elevation every few feet for a driveway entrance, dogs barked, strangers greeted each other and smiled, children skipped along while Mama pushed baby in a pram, delivery trucks hopscotched down the subdivision roadways, breezes blew through varieties of trees, dormant lawns and flower borders still rested awaiting Spring. Yes, just an ordinary, normal, every-day day. “Thank You, God, for another day like this! For unzipping in me a reminder for having an attitude of gratitude… and to again put my trust in You!”

Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

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