The day before you is a blank page.
There may be lines on it for coloring,
but it is for you to color in.
You can fill it with wonder and gratitude.
You can make it a picture of love
in colors of your choosing.
If you are bearing pain
it can be a drawing of healing and trust.
If you are fearful it can bear the lines and colors
of reaching out and seeking help.
It can be the shape of courage.
No one can make you use any color, any shape.
It is your choice.
No one is judging what you put on the page.
There is no right or wrong,
just something to look at.
Each moment you sit with the Divine, choosing.
~ Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light
Many years ago when I was serving as Rector of Grace Church in Newton, I had a parishioner who had just had very serious back surgery. I visited with her a couple of days after the surgery. She was home and was adjusting to her limitations. I always had experienced her as a very positive person. She had a grown son who was married and had two beautiful grandchildren. She was still working as a director of an after-school program and was creative and passionate about her vocation and her volunteer work at the church.
But this surgery knocked her for a loop. She was not used to lying around the house and she grew impatient with her inability to bounce back quickly. After I listened for a good while, I suggested that she begin a gratitude journal. “Each day I want you to write down at least five things that you are grateful for.” I suggested that it could be simple things such as sleeping through the night or giving thanks to God for the skillful surgeon who fixed the discs in her back, or the laughter of her grandchildren. I told her that I would check in with her in a month to see where she was with her gratitude journal.
Of course, the daily practice of giving thanks to God changed everything. Her attitude became more positive and she became more patient with her body and its ability to heal and she became more patient with herself. And she gave thanks to God. Every single day! And that made all the difference.
Writing in a journal became a prayer to God. She offered up her pain, her impatience, her inability to move as quickly as she used to. And she began to notice the small and wonderful things around her and gave thanks.
Whether you write in a journal or paint or sing or cook or simply notice things when you are walking your dog, let it be a prayer of gratitude to God. Let your every breath be a prayer.
Faithfully yours in Christ,