Do you ever have one of those weeks that is so busy it feels like two weeks in one, but when you reach the end of it you can't figure out where your time went? This week was just that sort for me.
Though I am only 'part-time,' I put in nearly 40 hours at work. This gave me the chance to talk with my supervisor and a co-worker for several hours during some projects, to listen to 'A Christmas Carol' twice (two different versions), and to sing a myriad of Christmas carols (as I work by myself most of the time). I read a book in a couple of evenings; had two or three long phone conversations; went to see some fantastic Christmas lights (timed to music) with my neighbours; got to ride in my friend's classic Mustang (amazing!); organised a discussion group on Roger Scruton's 'Why Beauty Matters*'; spent an enthralling evening in the Air Force Academy Chapel listening to Handel's Messiah; and spent a lovely Saturday with my 'roommates' celebrating Christmas.
I could probably write several posts about Scruton's documentary, at least one about the Messiah (which could even overlap with Scruton's work), and probably a handful of posts about Christmas with the girls yesterday.
However, I want to write about thankfulness. I have been hounded in conversations, letters, Scripture, books read, et cetera to consider the rôle of gratitude in my daily life and character. And that is just this week!
Thankfulness ought to mark a Christian's life thoroughly. Yet I find myself too often like the Israelites, much to my chagrin, complaining and grumbling. Who am I kidding though, about what can I complain?
-- I am on the upswing from a cold and have realised how wonderful the 350+ days of the year are when my head isn't foggy, my nose doesn't run incessantly, and I can taste my food and enjoy it thoroughly.
-- After reading a book this week where one of the characters lost his legs in the war, I began to appreciate my legs and feet much more (especially since I'm on my feet for hours every day at work).
-- Upon taking a brisk walk in 12º weather this morning, I was extremely grateful for my heater, electric blanket, working stove, and mug after mug of hot tea.
-- Earlier this week our maintenance man, Anil, fixed my leaking tub faucet, and I was reminded of how grateful I am for 1) running water in my house, 2) hot water, 3) water pressure in my shower and sinks, and 4) clean water. Some countries don't have any of these things.
-- I'm also thankful that Summit employs a full-time maintenance crew. Some of whom shovelled the walks this morning, even though it is their day off.
-- I found Irish Swiss cheese (an oxymoron?), raspberries, and hummus on great sales this week, along with the things I needed for some Christmas gifts. 'Small' things like that really make my day!
-- Also, I have a job that pays my bills, yet gives me time to pursue reading, spending time with others, travelling, and my book-buying and tea-drinking habits.
-- Extravagant pleasures: my own computer and wi-fi in my home.
Yet all of these things are not even the greatest gifts I am thankful for this week. I enjoyed a couple of hours talking with my dear Oxford flatmate, Kasey; conversations with my parents and both of my sisters; and enjoyed our discussion -and the insight offered- during the reading of the Christmas story with the roommates yesterday. I also enjoyed a long letter from my friend Danielle (thank you!), and several e-mails from various friends.
I just finished reading the book of Acts this week. Often Paul had his life threatened, was beaten, stoned, nearly drowned, etc., yet in all those things (even being in prison for two years before being brought to trial!) he was full of rejoicing. He found all those things worthwhile to endure in order that the news about Jesus could be spread. I want to be like that, and I know I'm not. Yet I am thankful for the desire to change and grow. Now to walk in that way...
There is much more that I am thankful for, but I will save it for my next blog post. Until then, I leave you with a Muppet-y thankfulness!
*As a note, if you choose to watch Scruton's documentary, please be forewarned that there are many graphic and disturbing images throughout the film.