by Afton Rorvik @AftonRorvik
The package on my doorstep surprised me. I hadn’t ordered anything. No one in my household had a birthday. No national holiday loomed on the near horizon. And I hadn’t heard the doorbell ring. My dog hadn’t even barked.
I ripped opened the squishy package and discovered a pillow with a large word written on it: GRATEFUL.
Who could have sent this? I hunted and hunted for a card, but clearly someone had ordered this from a company and had it shipped to me. Was it the friend I helped out last week? Or the guests we housed last month?
Although I wanted to send a thank you note, I sort of loved not knowing who sent the pillow because it caused me to evaluate my life over the past few weeks. Had I interacted with people in such a way as to make them grateful? Had I lived in a grateful state within my own heart—looking daily for God’s good gifts?
I love this word: Grateful. I want it to stick to me like Velcro and follow me around like a love-me-please puppy.
BUT gratitude takes effort. I naturally tend toward more of a glass-half-empty view of life—an Eeyore mentality. I can wallow in worry about what-ifs, isolate myself, criticize people in process who don’t respond to me the way I think they should, keep a list of all that seems upside-down in my life. . .
I’ve working to retrain my brain and heart by starting my days with worship. I sit in a cozy chair, turn on my playlist of worship songs, and open my hands to God. I let go of what weighs on me (often naming them specifically) and celebrate God’s good gift to me of Father-love as I let the music wash over me.
And I find myself returning again and again to this verse in James 1:17 (NIV): “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
How could I NOT live in gratitude when I live in the truth of these words and in the presence of the Father who does NOT change?
After posting a photo of my mysterious gift on Facebook, I learned that it had come from a friend I first met when I was 13. We now live states away but have managed to stay connected all these years. What a delightful no-good-reason, just-for-the-fun-of-it gift! J But even more fabulous—what a gift of enduring friendship!
This November my new pillow sits in our dining room window reminding me (and hopefully all who enter there) to remember the transforming power of this word: Grateful!
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 1 Chronicles 16:34 NASB
About the author: Afton Rorvik savors words, flavored coffee, time outside, and living connected. Although an introvert, she has come to realize that what really matters in life is people and faith in Jesus, which gives her the strength and courage to live connected. Afton wrote Storm Sisters (Worthy), a story-filled book about learning to stick around when storms hit a friend’s life. She blogs monthly at aftonrorvik.com and thoroughly enjoys Pinterest (Afton Rorvik).
Join the conversation: For what are you grateful this week of Thanksgiving?