by Leigh Ellen Rodriguez
|courtesy of Pexels.com|
“Gratitude is…” she pauses to find the right word, “a FORCE.”
I have asked her how she handles the limbo of her serious and ongoing medical issues. How does one do the day-to-day life when all the time in the back of their mind they are wondering if this might be their last winter? I ask her questions like this because I want to know her and be with her in the experience as she has been with me in mine. That was several days ago but I haven't been able to get that simply sentence out of my mind.
I remember what she said this morning when I am in no mood to be grateful. I promised myself when I began to share my experience with others that I would never fake it. So I tell you today that I don’t feel like fighting for joy today.
I want to be sad. Do you have days like that? When it seems everywhere you look there is pain. Even the overcast rainy day agrees with me. Gloom abounds.
If you are hoping I might have a secret way out of a dark mood, I don’t. My usual tricks aren’t working today. I don’t feel like distracting myself, or writing a list of what I am thankful for, or helping someone else. I don’t even feel like being encouraged by my husband, in fact encouragement just makes me more grouchy. I want to watch the Gilmore Girls, and wander aimlessly around my kitchen, and be unproductive. I want to stay in my pajamas and hide from the world that seems to get more mean by the minute. Actually, I am getting more mean by the minute.
So I start talking to God as I go through the motions. I imagine the dialogue, but is it imagining or is He speaking into my heart?
“I just can’t be thankful today,” I say.
“Okay? Aren’t I supposed to be thankful? I have all these things, and loved ones and blessings. But I am not thankful today, and you can’t make me be.”
“OKAY,” God whispers.
“Seriously? How can you be okay with that? Aren’t I like disrespecting you? Isn’t that like throwing your gifts back in your face?” I am aware that I am provoking God, feeling a little irritable. I think I hear him chuckle.
“COME, CHILD. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE TODAY?”
“Sad.” I say, and tears start to well up.
“COME, BE SAD WITH ME. LET ME COMFORT YOU.”
“I really tried to fight for joy today, God. I just couldn’t get it.That’s a lie (I guess you know that already). I didn’t fight. I didn’t even have the fight.”
“DON’T FIGHT. THAT IS MY JOB. I AM THE JOY PROVIDER. JOY IS GIVEN NOT WON.”
Whew. What a relief. I have learned this before. Heck, I have taught this before. I am reminded today that it is not my job to create the “AHA” moment. If I fight for anything, it simply needs to be fighting the lie that I can supply what I need by myself. What a joke.
Gratitude is a force. And that FORCE comes from God’s Spirit in me as it stirs in my sadness. When I stop fighting and just let the comfort of God envelope me, I find myself saying “Thank you for your presence, thank you for your comfort, thank you for your rest.” And the list begins.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”