Counting blessings… just in season?

From the Archives

Originally published November 17, 2013

Is it because of the coming Thanksgiving holiday? Or because of a recent sermon I heard on innumerable blessings? Or because I’ve had lots of opportunities lately to reflect on the many blessings in my life? In any event, blessings have been on my brain, and there is much truth in the promise that they cannot be counted.

True, a recent sermon on God’s blessings that cannot be numbered sparked some deep reflection on the subject. Since most of my time in the past year has been focused on the things I’m not doing with my life, dreams I’m not following, goals I’m not reaching, and money I’m not making, it has been easy to become blinded to the many wonderful things happening around me. And yes, not doing the things about which I’m most passionate has left me with plenty of time to think about where I am in life, particularly about how far I’ve come with help and support. Moreover, there’s no denial that the looming Thanksgiving season has reinforced this reflection by putting signs, ads, and other reminders that there’s more for which I’m grateful than about which I’m allowed to be miserable. Let’s consider.

Last year I started a job after a year and a half out of work. Between jobs I was more heavily involved in business and earning enough to pay bills. Since starting this new job, I’ve learned more about my profession, my colleagues, and myself. Earning a steady income again gave me the confidence to seek better living quarters for myself, so I also moved from the ghetto onto a quiet block in a somewhat better neighborhood. In fact, this house alone has been a rich source of blessings, and I’m grateful to enjoy it every day.

This house, though smaller than my previous house, is somehow more spacious. After getting comfortable in my old house, I concluded that the only way I’d move from there is if I had three additional conveniences: kitchen with more counter and cabinet space, finished basement, and utility room for doing laundry at home. Not only does my new house provide those benefits, it is only three blocks away from my favorite grocery superstore and it is a twin, adjacent to my siblings’ house of now five years. And being closer to family has opened up a floodgate of blessings in itself.

Since living next door to family, I’ve grown closer to many of my brothers, sisters, and niece living there. I’ve even learned more about myself (again), and celebrated more trials and triumphs with them. Our family, already a tight-knit group, has been able to take advantage of practically living together, the way we last did almost eight years ago. Today, three of my siblings have a place together not far from the rest of us, another blessing for them and another place to visit for me. From pitching in during their move to vacations together to dinner and family night rotations, having grown closer to family in the last year has affected me deeply and positively.

Family relations haven’t been all fun and fancy free. Some of our interactions are business, and being near enough to them to help at the drop of a hat has also been enriching. Some of that business includes art projects. In fact, when I think about how art is such a part of all of our lives and of society as a whole, I am blessed that since beginning my own journey in the field, and being able to share art with others has been a rich blessing, as my toolbox is upgraded over time.

Here’s my point: if I keep writing in one sitting how much blessing surrounds me, it could seem to come from a dark, boastful place instead of from the grateful, humbling place that’s really motivating this stream of reflection. So this is my parting thought: stop what you’re doing, clear your head for a moment, and let in thoughts of what you have (not what you’re missing), what you’ve done (not what you have yet to do or regret not doing), how much you’re loved (not how little you feel around others or how you’re not loved in the way you wish), whom you have in your life (not the ones that got away), and where you are for how far you’ve come (not how far you have to go to reach some goal or milestone). This isn’t positive thinking. It’s just reflecting on your life as it occurs from a standpoint of blessings. Even trials and tests and setbacks and letdowns and disappointments are blessings because if they don’t teach you some lesson, then they’re saving you from something worse. Consider that.

For which blessings are you most grateful today? Talk about them in comments.