|(This hydrangea growing in my backyard is a blessing, too.)|
You might laugh at that, but it is. And this is what I was chanting to myself last Saturday as I buckled Joshua into his carseat and started up the car for a grocery run on that rainy summer morning.
I buckled my seat belt and then realized that the seat was wet. Really wet. And then I gripped the steering wheel - also wet. The rain was leaking into the car, pooling in the upholstered ceiling, and dripping from the driver's side shade right onto my leg. Frustrated, I grabbed the only thing I could reach while still buckled - the picnic blanket I've kept in the car this summer - and tried to deal. Then I realized that my toes, too, were being dripped upon. What a day for flip flops, right?
Then I began to feel bad for myself. "Why do I have a ten-year-old leaky Jeep? Why can't I have a nice new car that's comfortable?" But I was stopped in my tracks as God quickly reminded me that, A. I don't deserve any of the blessings he's given (among them food, clothes, a home, shelter, a family), let alone this car, B. I'm on my way to buy groceries, for which we have just enough money, and C. This car is dependable. Not to mention, D. This car was a GIFT to us.
When we couldn't buy a second car, and had just totaled our only vehicle, friends of ours just gave us their extra vehicle. Free. Gratis. No strings attached. That was how the Jeep came to be ours. We paid for its new salvage title in NY state (it was once in a rollover accident, and the frame has never been quite true since. Hence, the leaking and the doors and windshield not fitting quite perfectly), put on the new plates, and it was ours. A blessing. An unanticipated, undeserved blessing.
And yet, I'm still impatient. And ungrateful. The knee-jerk reaction when I'm frustrated. Beep beep!! You've inconvenienced me. Still catching myself thinking about that elusive day when we might have two cars again, when they might be newer than ten years old, when they won't be gas-guzzling, 18mpg vehicles. When we can buy new furniture. When we can upgrade....
And it's not wrong to dream, but it's wrong to dwell on what we wish we could have, when we have so many things we can be thankful for now. I need to cultivate gratitude and thankfulness, a peaceful spirit, and a gentle, generous heart. I need to be willing to give of what I have - materially and emotionally - to others. I need to stop holding on with such clenched little fists to these temporal things that really don't matter anyway.
Whew. It's hard, isn't it?
I'm thankful for:
1. Peace in my home
2. A loving husband
3. My sweet little boy
4. My cat
5. Our very own laundry machines in our very own house
6. Enough food to eat
7. Those cute sparrows we saw on the walk today, and the tiny orange flowers in someone's grass
8. My pink Nalgene full of clean, filtered, fresh water
9. Our church
10. That blessed blue Jeep Liberty.