A Grateful Heart
In the midst of it all, I can't but be thankful! I've had time to reflect post-COVID 19 and the public outcry of racial injustice (nothing new, just perfect timing), and the emotion I feel post reflection is gratitude.
We've all been stimulated by the media in the past three months, from the pandemic to Breonna Taylor, to Ahmaud Arbery, to George Floyd in ways we haven't before. As I said earlier, racial injustice is nothing new, but the timing of millions of young progressive Americans (Black, White, otherwise) being out of school, working from home, with minimal social activities presents the best opportunity for change; I digress. Nonetheless, our emotional thermostats are probably maxed-out like the thermostat in a Houston, Texas home in the middle of the Summer. We are all scorching hot. Real.
But, as I reflect on the following (to name a few):
The fact that I was born in the 20th century, to parents who graduated college and I've had the opportunity to do the same.
My ability to read, write, and comprehend sentences at the 6th-grade level (and sometimes higher).
The freedom I have to worship my God and publicly declare Him God over my life.
Having an amazing wife who still loves and respects me despite my flaws after being together for almost ten years.
The two amazing sons who still crave my time and attention, and wake up early to see me before I leave for work.
My ability to earn a living to provide for my family.
You get the gist. My heart is filled with gratitude, and my emotional thermostat moves closer to cool than hot, for I know I am not better than anyone on the other side of this dirt- I have life, and might I say more abundantly than I deserve.
Small Gist: I had a lengthy conversation with a good (black) brother of mine a few days after George Floyd was murdered. It was about 11:30 PM; he was taking a stroll in his affluent neighborhood as we vented to each other, knowing the charge upon us raising black sons in this dispensation. About half-way through the conversation (say 40 minutes in), he sees a police car parked, and I instantly become nervous. It was paramount that I stayed on the phone with him until he got home, well, my phone died. Fortunately, I was able to ring him with another phone that had his number saved in the cloud.
Here's my point; the struggle is real! But the fact that he was in an affluent community, with the freedom to take a stroll not worried about robbers, the fact that we both have the personal skill-set to earn a living, the fact that we could discuss at length not concerned with cell phone bills (might sound silly), late-night shifts, etc. All of these "little things" are more than enough reasons to be thankful. As Mark Batterson said in Play The Man, "Reality check: most of our problems are first-world problems."
My Challenge to You: First, let me say that this is not an attempt to negate the struggle or minimize the emotional toll and impact upon many of us (myself included). But I feel the need to share the importance of a grateful heart in times like this and ask that you take stock of what you're grateful for despite the umpteen issues facing our generation. For instance, you can fight the battles facing you because others were victors before you, that's something to be grateful for. You can survive COVID-19 because others spent years understanding the virology and pathology of similar diseases, that's another thing to be grateful for. Take stock of what you're grateful for today, and give glory to The Giver of life for blessing you despite your flaws.
'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.' Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)