As I recline on the couch with the weight of my sick two-year-old’s body on my chest, I feel unexpected gratitude. Not because he is feeling ill or because we may have to make another trip to the doctor. But as his slow breathing in and out falls into pace with mine, I realize how rare this moments have become. This letting me hold him, falling asleep against me.
My youngest child is growing up, and cuddle time is getting more and more infrequent. For a moment, I forget about the time and the long drive ahead of us and savor the moment.
Was this the type of thankfulness I was studying? In Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts, she studies the mystery of living a full, meaningful life. Sometimes, even those who have found Jesus’ saving grace wake up feeling empty, unsatisfied, and longing for more. Why?
Ann’s discovery? Eucharisteo. A Greek word which means grace, thanksgiving, and joy. A word which is used the night before Jesus was betrayed, when he broke the bread with his disciples. He, “gave thanks.” (Luke 22:19)
Before he was about to die a brutal death, he gave thanks. Before his own Father was about to turn his face away from the sin he bore for my sake, he gave thanks.
Despite the impending suffering, Jesus also knew the joy that was before him. He had tasted heaven. But what does this mean for those of us who haven’t tasted heaven’s radiance? Can we daily live out this joy, this gratitude, in the midst of babies crying, deadlines piling, tiredness and sickness?
Yes. But we must make a choice to do so.
A full life is not a destination we find, but a choice we make.
We choose to find the blessing in the midst of the struggle and the chaos. We choose gratitude over grumbling and complaining.
I want to experience the fullness of life that God desires for me. I want to taste abundance. And I believe Ann has truly discovered something brilliant. So today, I’m embarking on a journey. To record the gifts I already have. Not the things I want or hope to achieve. The blessings right in front of me.
And today I’m grateful that after a rough evening, my two-year-old woke up with a smile on his face. He woke up singing, “I’ve Got the Joy.”
I believe I could learn a thing or two from this child of mine.