The things is, mishaps keep on rolling in, and I am tired. And practicing gratitude requires perseverance. And I am tired. But the apostle Paul once said that we should rejoice in suffering because suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope cannot disappoint us. It was hope that buoyed the faith of the "Faith Hall of Fame-ers" in Hebrews 11 when they were tired, discouraged, and doubtful of God's work in their lives. So practicing gratitude with endurance when life continues to discourage and disappoint won't only transform the way I experience the moment, but will also reap eternal rewards. It's worth pushing through the tired.
This week my new computer crashed again. I'd just gotten a new hard drive installed two weeks ago after losing a wealth of important documents, so I shouldn't have had another hard drive crash. More information lost. Oh dear. You'd think I'd learn my lesson after the first hard drive crash and back up my data daily. And then, I discovered that the paint in my studio has lead in it which means the post-renovation dust coating much of my apartment could be pure poison. And I suppose these problems would seem little more than inconvenient if they were isolated, but they're not: they're just the straw on top of a huge load of hay on top of a tired camel who is desperately afraid of battling more sickness, lead-caused or otherwise. But Paul reminds us there are still nuggets of joy to be had in the midst of all this "tired"...
So I've been asking God to help me practice gratitude in spite of my weary and apathetic heart. When I walked into Trader Joe's last night to get some food for dinner I begged God, "Please give me a good gift in here. I am discouraged and feel like I need a little something to perk up my spirits." Minutes later I was at the check out stand and the cashier asked, "Have you seen our rainbow carrots?"
Rainbow carrots? Could it be?! Had my childhood fantasies about rainbow produce become real in my normal, everyday life?
The cashier had another worker grab me a bag of carrots, and to my delight there were yellow, purple, and orange carrots in the bundle. "The purple carrots are yellow inside," the cashier said. "And they're delicious. Sweeter than regular carrots."
The best part of about Snickers, Reeses, Almond Joy and most other candy bars is they are not what they seem. They have silky milk chocolate on the outside, and have chewy, nutty, surprises on the inside. Who knew there were comparable carrots?
These carrots — delightful on the outside — are not what they seem. They're even more delightful than they seem.
And wonderfully, these carrots brought me much delight. The rather bushy mustache on the man in the car next to me at the stoplight also brought me great delight. As did the fact that the computer repair guy at the Apple Store looked remarkably like Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec. As does the smell of bacon that is currently wafting from the neighbors house and onto my deck. As does the tree to my left that is the playground for dozens of tiny, hopping birds.
So I guess the take-away from this week is that I need to tell God when I'm really tired and then ask him for good, faith-growing gifts, the presence of mind to notice the gifts, and the stamina to thank him for the gifts. I think this must be a prayer that brings him great pleasure. And you never know how he'll answer. But it'll likely be with something really cool.
Like rainbow carrots.
© by scj