Thursday, November 27, 2008

Attitude of Gratitude

Several years ago, I read that upon entering a crowded parking lot, the fastest course of action is to park in the first available spot, then walk to the storefront. I was skeptical for sure. But after years of informal field tests and several brisk walks to win the imaginary race between me and the woman who drove into the lot just before me, I began to confidently endorse this theory.

After having kids, I continued to practice my park ‘n’ walk routine…. but abandoned any notion that words like fastest, easiest, or quickest would ever again be used to describe my shopping trips. I remember one day in particular, I was headed to the store to get just one silly ingredient I had forgotten the day before…. It was raining…. I didn’t have much time…I had a growing baby girl who would need her carrier seat lugged in with her, and two attentive young boys who were enthusiastic, yet oblivious to the tension of the day…. did I mention it was raining?

I needed to catch a break. Not a big one. I just needed SOMETHING to go in my favor. Driving down the initial aisle of parking spaces, I wondered: how drenched is too drenched? Then, I saw them … through my windshield…. the blurred red and white taillights backing out of the parking space nearest the door! With overwhelming relief I shouted, "Thank You, God, for a great parking place!”

I don’t honestly remember how the rest of that trip went. I’m sure we found what we needed, and I’m sure we got a little wet. I had merely survived another morning of motherhood. But my children had been listening…

To this day, whenever, and wherever I park my car, the boys joyfully exclaim, “Thank You, God, for a GREAT parking place!” I often snicker that they express such exuberant gratefulness even when our car is half a mile from the entrance --wedged between a huge, muddy 4x4 truck and a collection of abandoned buggies! The Lord has used their absolute gratefulness to convict my heart of all the days I’m NOT thankful…as though the only time for praise and gratitude is when I’ve been spared some discomfort or granted extra blessings. That is not the attitude the Lord requires.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good….” Whether our day is sunny or soggy; rushed or relaxed; burdened or blessed; we should be grateful –not necessarily because of our circumstances, but because God is good and His loving-kindness is everlasting!