by Patti Richter
…wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds…. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted. –Psalm 148:10, 13 NIV
I can almost taste it. But roast turkey is off limits for me these days, according to my vet, who said, “No more poultry for Rufus.”
I’m an old dog who never learned any tricks. I even struggled to obey commands, with the exception of “wait,” which is commendable for my breed of terrier—Jack Russell. Even so, I’ve been observant in other ways, and with help from “Mom” here, I’d like to share some wisdom I’ve gained—mostly through pain and disappointment.
First of all: Be thankful. For me this means looking beyond my weak stomach and other afflictions. From head to tail, here are some things that challenge me to embrace a right attitude:
–Diminished eyesight prevents me from doing things I once enjoyed, like ridding the yard of snakes and varmints. But it makes me appreciate those who watch over me.
–My hearing is beyond diminished—it’s completely gone. And though I greatly miss the voices of loved ones and the bark of friends, I no longer fear scary noises: sirens, thunder, fireworks, and my former nemesis, the vacuum cleaner.
–My teeth are quite bad. Chew-bones are such a thing of the past that I can’t remember where I buried my last one. I’m thankful Mom adds broth to my kibble and gives me soft biscuits made with cranberries and sweet potatoes.
–Muscle tone once fueled my ego; the loss of it now feeds my humility. I have to be lifted to the sofa and helped back down again, but I’m blessed to have strong arms around me and soft places to rest my sore bones.
–Allergies anyone? It’s hard to be thankful in this. Bermuda grass is tough on bare paws, and it’s everywhere! I’d bite my toes raw and rub the whiskers off my muzzle without antihistamines—they’re amazing. Warm baths also relieve my itching and make me feel like a brand-new dog.
While I’ve learned to show more appreciation for my family, this is merely licking the hands that feed me. For most of my life, the Creator of all things was far from my thoughts as I looked to my loved ones to satisfy all my desires. However, as everyone and everything around me slowly faded from view, God’s goodness became so clear! He is the only one who never fails.
I’ve learned so much about God through my family during my time of weakness and infirmities. Their faithfulness remained the same when I had nothing to offer them anymore. I came to realize they had chosen and adopted me because they had love to give, and I never had to earn it! And this is exactly what God has done for his people.
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace…. –Ephesians 1:4 – 6 NIV
About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles.
Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.
Join the conversation: What negative things have taught you to be thankful in a new way?