Taken for granted or taken with gratitude

We’ve been having a conversation about Walmart and forgiveness the last few weeks, and I promise to come back to that topic when I have more to report.

But today, my thoughts are more occupied with the things I take for granted. My hands, for instance.

Yesterday while I was out running, I took a tumble on some loose gravel and ended up sliding along the asphalt for what seemed like an eternity – probably because it happened in slow motion. I sat up and saw the palm of my right hand covered in blood, asphalt crumbs and dirt, and felt pain along the left side of my body (shoulder, hand, hip, lower leg and foot). 

A very kind, concerned driver who saw me fall stopped to make sure I was okay. I told her I was and also happened to be close to home. So I managed to get up and trudge home.

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I cannot tolerate pain. I may be the biggest wimp in the world when it comes to pain. But so far, I haven’t been able to change that and haven’t dared to ask God to help me better tolerate pain because I’m frankly afraid of what challenge He might send my way to teach me that lesson.

As the day went on, I realized how much I take my hands for granted, given all that I expect them to do:

  • Push me off the ground when I want to stand up.
  • Unlock and open the front door.
  • Open a bottle of rubbing alcohol (note: not the best to use on road rash).
  • Cut strips of bandage and tape.
  • Put on make-up.
  • Write.
  • Drive.
  • Wash dishes.
  • Take out the trash.
  • Walk the dog.

That’s not even the full list, but I think you get the point. As a writer, my hands are vital to what I do, and they don’t even ask for much care in return. Today, instead of taking my hands for granted, I’m taking them with gratitude. Despite the temporary pain I feel from them now, they are indispensable to me. They’re also a way that I’m able to do the work God has blessed me and called me to do.

I began wondering what else I take for granted, and I know there are family and friends on that list, any of whom I might have called yesterday to bring over a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. That duty fell to my dad, who was very sweet to also bring the new tube of neosporin with pain relief added in – he knows better than most about my lack of pain tolerance. I didn’t even know neosporin came with pain relief in it!

Taking the big and small for granted
Is it possible that we take family and friends for granted more than anything else? We lost someone this week on my husband’s side of the family, and it was a reminder to cherish the moments we have with each other, whether the years together are long or short.

I had a great aunt who lived to be 100, and in the final years of her life, I treated every visit as if it might be the last: enjoying the stories of her life, the gift of time with her and all of the ways she made each one of us feel special and unique. My only regret was not asking for her recipe for chicken corn soup, as I’m not sure anyone in my family still has the recipe.

Why don’t I cherish time like that with more of my family and friends? Relishing in the time together. Saying what needs to be said. Ending each visit with an “I love you.” It’s because I take my time with them for granted, ignoring – perhaps intentionally – that tomorrow is promised to none of us.

So I have some more entries to add to my gratitude journal today. I’d encourage you to spend some time today, too, thinking of what you might be taking for granted. Will you say a prayer of gratitude to God thanking Him for those things (healthy hands, no broken bones) or person (Dad with first aid in hand).

Write it down so you can come back to remind yourself again and again not to take anything for granted, but instead, to take everything with gratitude.

5 thoughts on “Taken for granted or taken with gratitude

  1. Thanks, Suzanne! All — wanted to share a few lines from the chapter I just got to in Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks:"How do we tumble down a hill? A foot placed incautiously on an unsteady rock or loosened turf, an ankle twisted or a knee buckled, and of a sudden we are gone, our body lost to our own control until we find ourselves sprawled in indignity at the bottom. So it seems apt indeed to speak of the Fall. For sin, too, must always start with but a single misstep, and suddenly we are hurtling toward some uncertain stopping point. All that is sure in the descent is that we will arrive sullied and bruised and unable to regain our former place without hard effort."Brooks has such a lovely writing style, and this passage struck me as perfectly penned.

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