I was surfing facebook last night and noticed a friend's status: If you woke up this morning with everything you thanked God for yesterday, how much would you wake up with? So my first thought was, "well, if I'd read this on Friday, I'd be set." My second thought was probably more in line with what the poster intended--"gosh, I'm not nearly as thankful, nearly as often, as I should be". And I'm not, but I suspect that most of us aren't. We go through life taking for granted the things we have until we don't. From the major (life, health, the health of our loved ones, a roof over our heads) to the small (toilet paper that is neither too rough nor too soft, ten different styles of black shoes), we just don't notice most things until they're gone.
Today, I'm particularly thankful for something I know I'll begin to take for granted all too soon. J and I purchased a new laptop for me last night. Having my own laptop is something I've pretty much taken for granted for the last five years or so. When my last one died in June, it was a jarring moment for me. Since then, J and I have shared (except when I was in DC, when I borrowed time on my mom's, and when I was in SF, when I 'made do' with the internet capabilities on my cellphone and did without the rest). While sharing is certainly a option, it's just not a preferred option. How can we curl up in bed and simultaneously surf our evening away with only one laptop? (Yes, there was sarcasm implied there, no matter how true the statement actually is.) Anyhow, I'm thankful for my new laptop, for J who encouraged its purchase, and for Glenn, the employee who helped us out (despite my ten thousand questions, J's use of his phone to 'check' Glenn's answers, and my general dorkiness at getting a new toy).
I'm thankful, too, for a new job opportunity (and great timing, what with the new laptop bill coming around the same time as my first paycheck... :)). While I've mostly enjoyed my almost one year sabbatical from a desk job, I've learned (or made concrete suppositions) about myself. Primary among these--I'm a creature of structure. Hindsight being what it is, I think I've known this about myself for a while, but I'm just now realizing how pervasive it is. For example, when I was in high school, I got my best grades during the fall and spring grading periods. (Not) coincidentally, those were the grading periods I was most busy/most scheduled. Likewise in college, I accomplished the most when I went from class to meetings to work to meetings. Given my limited 'free' time in both cases, I learned to use that time wisely. In sharp contrast, I've had loads of free time over the past year, and I've no done much with it. More often than not I think to myself, "I can do that tomorrow". So, starting August 1, four days a week I'll have a nice rigid structure. I am hopeful that this offers just enough structure that I'll learn to use my other three days wisely!
Finally, J mentioned yesterday that I'm helping out with Vacation Bible School at our church. That in itself provides one very good opportunity for being thankful--the children (mostly little boys) say the most precious things! The experience actually gives me something else to be thankful for. I spent more than two years as an Elementary Ed major in college before realizing that I wasn't cut out for spending day after day, year after year with classroom full of children. I knew at that time that one of my life-goals would be to make a difference in the life of a child, but I just knew that wasn't the path for me to accomplish that goal. This is still a definite goal for me, and I've been blessed to find many opportunities to influence the lives of children. My moment of thankfulness came Tuesday as I tried (along with three other adults) to calm down eleven little boys for a story. At that moment all I could think was "Thank goodness I have been able to find other ways to work toward my goal than the path of elementary school teacher!"
What are you thankful for this week?