Appreciating Our 'Background' Blessings
It’s an unfortunate thing but we easily fall into the habit of seeing many of our blessings as burdens. We also tend to overlook other blessings because we grow so accustomed to having them. That ancient saying that tries to remind us of how we ‘take things for granted’ has a massive truth to it. If we could somehow teach ourselves to be grateful for the small things, which are actually enormous blessings, it would surely make us more humble and appreciative of blessings so often overlooked.
The funny thing is, they should be so obvious to us but we don’t take the time to really acknowledge them. Some of our blessings we’ve somehow managed to morph into burdens. These can merely consist of our everyday chores. Instead of groaning about having to do the laundry, we should be grateful that we have the luxury of a washing machine to cut down on the labor. Or when we complain about washing the dishes, we should take a moment to truly be thankful for having access to running water. Heck, we should appreciate having dishes at all. And while we’re grumbling about having to drag our butts to the grocery store, we should take a moment and realize just how wonderful it actually is to be able to buy groceries.
For a several years now my husband and I have been trying to buy a house. We’ve grown sick of renting and strongly desire to have something that is ‘ours’ but something always halts our efforts. It’s a stressful situation if everything goes smoothly so you can understand how much more frustrating it is when nothing goes right at all. Anyways, the most recent try was a huge mess and it left us empty and bitter to accept the unwanted outcome once again. Shortly after, while still sulking, I decided to do some research into all the chaos of Syria and its refugees. I looked at dozens of photos of people’s homes blown to rubble. Among the fallen cities were places where people still lived, having no water sources or electricity. They had no schools, roads or bakeries. There were no buildings still intact. And no longer any protection or comfort. They were still being bombed and afflicted.
And more so, I seen dozens of photos of refugees walking aimlessly through harsh terrain and doing so while carrying young children. I could see them sleeping in open fields directly on the rough ground. I also seen pictures of adults and children who had drown and were washing up on beaches by the dozens. I couldn’t help but wonder how terrifying crossing that water was for them, what the horror of not being able to find loves ones in the dark merciless water was like, what suffering comes along with carrying your small child thousands of miles was like, or how severe the hunger and thirst becomes after days without it.
After that, I felt joy for being able to shower. When I looked at my two daughters, I was enormously grateful that I could feed them, that I could bathe them, that we could provide them shelter. I gave thanks for every sip of water I was blessed to have throughout the day. And not owning a home wasn’t as important anymore. It’s not that I don’t still want somewhere to call my own, but we have many luxuries right here in our tiny apartment that a lot of people would give so much for. A bed, air conditioning, running water, clothes, shoes, food… We over look these blessings and luxuries so often. Even at our worst we are much better off than so many.
Sometimes when I start throwing my pity parties I have to remind myself that there are people being tortured, slaughtered and assaulted. I could be mourning the loss of my husband, children or somebody very dear to me. I must keep in mind that there are people suffering unimaginable circumstances. This past Sunday at church my preacher stated that we really need to learn to be content where we are, and that basically punched me in the heart. That was something I definitely needed to hear. And he meant that even if the situation was looking grim.
Surprisingly, there are still so many more blessings that we take for granted. Having arms and legs that function properly. Having eyesight or the ability to hear. Having a job to keep you financially stable. It may seem like a burden to wake up and go to a place you’ve grown to hate, and to be surrounded by people that you allow to drive you crazy, but there is so much gratitude that should be embraced in all that mess. The harder we try to dig for things to be grateful for, the more humbling it is to realize that we are actually acting like little ungrateful brats. I start becoming ashamed of myself when I pull that mask of ungratefulness away from my eyes. And if I can alter my understanding, I find myself being much more happy and content with my meek little life. I start finding joy in the places that I had filled up with resentment.
Sometimes at night, I lay with my face pressed against my husband’s back and listen to his heartbeat. It’s very raw to really comprehend that my time with him is limited. Soaking in the fact that I won’t always be able to appreciate what it feels like to hold him, to listen to his breathing, and hear the life of his heartbeat becomes a very emotional thing. It’ll make your heart swell with gratitude that you’re blessed enough to still be able enjoy it.
There is so much that fades into the background, so much that we’ll never even think to give thanks for, but even seeing a little changes a lot. They say perspective is key and they certainly weren’t wrong. Maybe if I point out blessings to those around me, in return they will show me some of mine that I can no longer see. What are some of your background blessings that you take for granted? What is the craziest thing that you've labeled insignificant but is really something you should rejoice in?
Every single day, every single breath is a blessing. And every single moment we grow closer to not having them anymore. Even our trials can be blessings if we learn and grow from them. Try to keep in mind that you will be dead to the world much longer than you were alive in it. God deserves unending thanks for all that he blesses us with, let’s try and eliminate a little more of what we take for granted. I love you all and Godspeed.