Wow. That is one of those scriptures that on the surface is so simple, and yet when you really, really think about it, it is so hard. It falls right up there with Mark 12:30-31:
Let me preface this post (and perhaps future spiritually driven posts) with I may know some scriptures, but I stink at remembering where they are located within the bible. If it were not for websites such as Bible Gateway, it would take a lot of divine intervention to find them in the bible (yes, pun intended).
I often think of Pastor Ray's sermon at his son David's funeral when I think of 1 Thessalonians. I don't know how many others in that packed sanctuary remember what he said that day, but I do. Staff Sgt. David was killed by an IED five years ago while serving our country. Rather than focusing on the unfairness of life, Pastor Ray focused on the lessons he learned from his son. Rarely has a sermon stayed with me five minutes later, let alone five years later. Another past sermon that sticks with me is one I heard at the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu on Christmas Eve 1999. Pastor Dan said to remember God loves us so much he has our picture on his refrigerator door. How awesome is it to think of God loving us on THAT personal of a level.
But I digress. Give thanks for everything? I was contemplating this line of scripture while raking leaves for the umpteenth time. Rather than feeling joy like Ashley did at age 7, I tire of raking leaves. It is a necessary chore in order to help the grass survive until next year. While we do mulch some of them with the lawn, many more are raked by myself.
How can I give thanks for raking leaves when I would much rather be reading a book or (perhaps) blogging?
I thought back to a year earlier. Last fall I was diagnosed with a frozen shoulder. Raking leaves was hard in the fall of 2014, but I did it. I am thankful that this year the only part of me that hurt was when the blister on my thumb popped (yes, I should have worn gloves).
I was also thankful for the beautiful fall weather. Raking gave me an excuse to spend part of it outside without feeling guilty about the indoor chores not happening.
I was also thankful for it gave me the opportunity to chat with neighbors. We all become so insular, often only talking to our neighbors during leaf raking and shoveling. I was grateful I was raking leaves and not shoveling snow on that December day.
I was thankful we have a home with a yard. I try to remind myself of this when the neighbor's truck roars to life early in the morning and when his dog barks because "well, he is a barker."
If a father can give thanks for his son at his funeral, I can look for the good and (hopefully) give thanks for the annoyances in life, though that is not always easy.
I continue to search for the reason to be thankful for a diabetes diagnosis. It could be because it forced me to change my diet, which has helped me to lose 10 pounds, run faster, and be healthier overall. It could be so I would be grateful when my endo declared me diabetes free (though I still don't trust her, nor do I live me life as if she was speaking the truth).
I will continue to try to give thanks, perhaps through that practice I will see God's work in my life.