Rejoicing in the Gifts of Life

Recently, I was reminded to take seriously that each day is a gift. I can forget that truth amid the rush of work projects and the worries of life. Because my editing 9-to-5 is so much about meeting deadlines and staying one step ahead of the mountain that threatens to swallow me, I can forget to look around and appreciate the most important treasures in life.

This post is about recovering that sense of wonder. Here are some of the things, large and small, for which I am thankful:

1. The right and privilege to vote in U.S. elections

(Photo: Rachel E. Watson)

This is a solemn responsibility and at the same time a great privilege, one that the women of my 238-year-old nation have only had for 94 years. It fills my heart with a sense of power and pride when I step into that booth after careful research and fill in the bubbles that represent my choices. 

On Election Day last Tuesday, I couldn't help noticing the looks of satisfaction on each of the faces in line. Here we are to vote, and here we've just voted. How simple a joy. The smiles were infectious. 

2. Poetry and songwriting

In meter and wonder, with rhythm and expression, words and music weave a tapestry that conveys our shared human experience. 

How is it that one person can pen a song that moves the hearts of thousands? When we read or hear the lines borne out of the writer's mind, we can't know fully what it was that led to the writing. But we can feel it deeply inside. We can connect. We can welcome the words and sounds into our spirits and carry them with us into the night, a great sustenance through the valley of the shadow.

3. The power of spoken prayer

(Photo: Free images)

I like to be alone, where I may speak my fears to God. I find Him at the zenith of my frustrations outside in nature, where I walk alone and talk to Him aloud. 

Speaking my thoughts moves them from the confused cage of my brain into the light of day, where I can see them for what they are. When they are said aloud, though I hear no audible response from God, they lose power over me. 

One example last week was when a project took a sharp turn just when I thought it was finished, and I lost my cool. 

I gathered my keys and coat and headed for the woods to seek solitude. I remember telling God, "What's going on here is not cool! I'm really angry that you'd let this happen! And then there's the matter of my niece born today. I was really hoping to get out of here early so I could go see her, but then all of this happened. She's not getting any younger, God!" 

After I said those words, I just burst out laughing at how I sounded. I was released from anger's grip.

Speaking of my niece ... here's my final item of gratitude:

4. A new life to love

While I was praying on my solitary walk on Friday, I realized that I already loved my newest niece, November "Emmy" Rose, born that morning at 3:30, even though I hadn't met her yet. 

Emmy sleeps in my arms. (Photo: Adam Forrest)

And when I did meet her, I couldn't get enough of those tiny features, the small hands with perfect fingernails, the head of thick, silky black hair, the little button nose and chubby cheeks, the personality waiting to be discovered. 

What will she love? Who will her friends be? Will she like to read? As her limbs grow strong, will she test their limits in sports and work and play? 

I'm thankful to God for her, and for each new breath He allows me to enjoy all of His good gifts.

Read more posts in the Storytelling Sunday series here.

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