It's been a rough couple of weeks in our town--I've spent a lot of time and energy supporting a friend who's had a real run of bad luck. As I explained to a couple of people, it's payback time--when I was going through my rough times, this friend and many others were there to hold me together. Now I can do it for her.
Sunday morning's sermon featured a story about a man who had journeyed to Colombia, where he saw poor villagers--the men sitting and chatting in the sunshine, smoking, the women sitting on front porches of brightly painted houses, washing dishes, peeling potatoes, nursing infants, and children swimming in a muddy river. He noted that these people didn't have a lot of things, their environment was not pristine, their food less than the best. But there was more joy in that village than he'd ever seen on the streets of any North American suburb, where kids had expensive video game systmes, where we throw out more good food than some people eat, where both men and women are fully employed.
They had joy because they were thankful for what they had. We have so much, I think, that we don't even notice it any more.
A case in point--as part of my "101 Things" project, I've been cleaning out my house. Today, I got the kids over and we cleaned out my front hall closet. I found the boots that I didn't wear last winter because they were buried under a mound of stuff. I have enough paint to cover all the walls in my house--twice! I've twice asked for paint coupons from my co-op (they supply the paint, I do the painting), and twice started and not finished the job. I found two pairs of running shoes--and I was just about to go out and buy another pair because the pair I've been wearing are worn out. I found my black dress shoes, that have been missing for over a year. Lots of brooms and mops, some good, some ready for the dump. Stuff that should be in the car (like the gas can), stuff that should be in the basement (like the paint), stuff that needed to be thrown out, and stuff that should have been given away a long time ago.
How can I be thankful for my stuff when I don't even know it's there? Or when I can't get to it?
So now, thanks to my kids and a couple of hours' worth of work, I have an organized closet.
And I'm thankful.