When the kids were little, in addition to their nightly prayers we also asked them a question every night, “What are you happy for?” The answer had to reflect something that directly related to that day. Some nights they didn’t want to play the game and we would get answers like “I’m happy I’m going to bed” or “I’m happy this day is over.” Sometimes they were happy for a new video game or a visit with a favorite friend.
Art and I were not exempt from the game. Often we really had to rack our brains to come up with one thing to be happy for. After awhile we started to realize that there are many small things in a day for which we can give thanks.
As Bud and Boo got older and age and activities made it so there was no one bedtime for everybody, we slowly moved away from our nightly tradition. Circumstances changed in our lives and we became so busy running our new business that we forgot to give thanks for all the blessings we had.
Today our lives are not great. Every day is a struggle both monetarily and emotionally. I’ve decided it’s time to reinstate “what are you happy for?” I’ll go first:
Today I am happy for my husband, my sons, my family and friends, our puppy and big dog, a house to live in, food in the pantry.
What are you happy for?
All who take refuge in Him (God) are happy. – Psalm 2: 12b
On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech was not just intended as a message of hope and a call to action for African-Americans, but also as a wake-up call to those of us who may have taken our constitutional rights for granted.
I’m not here to discuss politics with you. But in celebration of what would have been Dr. King’s 83rd birthday, I would like to discuss some of the things many of us take for granted on a daily basis:
Hot water. Seriously. Do we even understand what a miracle it is to have indoor plumbing? My father-in-law didn’t have it as a child growing up in rural Tennessee.
I must say that except for the occasional camp shower I have always had a hot shower. But then, at the end of last year our water heater sprung a leak. We couldn’t afford to replace it, so went for about six weeks without hot water until we had the money to buy a used replacement from Craigslist. Bud got resourceful and showered at a friend’s house every day. The rest of us took what Art likes to call “penguins”. I would boil a teapot of hot water for my hair, but everything else was ice, ice baby!!
For one week of that time we were also without an automatic dishwasher, so we not only had to hand wash the dishes (not that big a deal) but also had to boil water on the stove just to wash them.
Food. On those days when we’re trying to decide what restaurant to go to and lamenting the lack of anything “new” to try, we might just be taking for granted the fact that we have so much food and so many choices. A few months ago our family had to start going to the Food Bank once a month and I can tell you that after trying to figure out what to make with canned pork because that’s the only meat in the cupboard, you will never take food for granted again.
Friends and Family. What would we do without you? You have supported us in so many ways both financial and spiritual. Every time we felt alone in this mess someone reached out a hand to us. I don’t know if we can ever express the depth of our gratitude and love for you guys.
So I’ve had the wake-up call and here’s what I intend to do about it: